By STEVEN FOWLER
Since Dec. 9, the Pima Community College men’s basketball team (12-9, 7-6 in ACCAC) have compiled an 8-5 record including a 91-85 upset over No. 16 Arizona Western College on Jan. 6 since our last publication.
The Aztecs upset No. 18 Phoenix College on the road on Jan. 23.
Pima held a double-digit lead for the majority of the game beating Phoenix College 94-86.
In the first half, the Aztecs went on an eye-popping 22-3 stretch in roughly five minutes to take a 36-13 lead. Sophomores Yusef Shehata and Cameron Volk contributed with a combines nine 3-pointers in the half.
The Aztecs led 55-32 early in the second half but the Bears went on a 16-3 stretch to trim the deficit to eight. Pima responded with an inside shot from sophomore Justice Martion and a three-pointer by freshman Kwintin Williams to make it 63-50.
As Pima held a 67-56 lead with 10:28 left, they went on a 16-5 run to take a comfortable 83-61 with a little over five minutes remaining. Despite a 12-3 run by Phoenix College, the Aztecs made several free-throw shots to seal the victory.
Williams finished with 30 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. Shehata made 19 of his 24 points in the first half including six 3-pointers. Volk contributed with 15 points and seven rebounds while Martion scored 13 points and seven rebounds.
On Jan. 20, PCC lost on the road to Chandler-Gilbert Community College.
After trailing 31-25 at halftime, the Aztecs were outscored by 10 and fell 78-62.
Pima split the regular season series with the Coyotes. The Aztecs won 86-76 on Nov. 18 at the West Campus Gym.
PCC won a high-scoring game on Jan. 16 against Scottsdale Community College.
“I thought we were a better team personnel-wise, I just couldn’t get our guys to find the defensive end,” said men’s basketball head coach Brian Peabody.
The Aztecs reached triple digits for just the fourth time this season in their 104-94 win-their fifth win in their last six games.
Leading by as much as 10 points in the first half, the Aztecs held on to a 50-45 lead at the half.
Up 77-76 with roughly eight minutes remaining in the game, the Aztecs went on an 8-0 run that was capped off by a three-pointer by Shehata to make it 85-76 with 7:09 left in the game. The Artichokes cut the deficit with 2:08 remaining until Shehata and freshman Keven Biggs each made two free throws to give the Aztecs a double-digit lead.
“I thought we did a little bit better of a job in the second half on the defensive side but not much better,” Peabody said. “It’s just trying to get guys to put some effort into it on the defensive side.”
Shehata finished with a team-high 27 points including making seven 3-pointers. Martion scored 25 points including six rebounds and two blocks.
Williams made 17 points, six rebounds and two assists while Biggs had a double-double of thirteen points and 10 rebounds. Freshman Dakota Kordsiemon came off the bench and scored all 11 of his points in the second half.
PCC earned the win in a tight game against South Mountain Community College on Jan. 13 in Phoenix.
The Aztecs held on to beat South Mountain 81-79 after the Cougars fell short in their failed attempt with five seconds remaining.
Pima led 36-33 at halftime and eventually took a 73-69 lead with four minutes remaining.
Williams led the Aztecs with 27 points and 19 rebounds while Shehata contributed with 19 points, four assists and six rebounds.
“In our league, everybody can beat everybody. There is nobody that stands out,” Peabody said.