By STEVEN FOWLER
The Pima Community College men’s basketball team (17-12, 12-9 in ACCAC) has found itself on a three-game win streak and has hit the ground running as the 2015-16 regular season play winds down.
Pima was victorious in a back-and-fourth game Feb. 20 against South Mountain Community College. The Aztecs won 111-108 in overtime.
Down 108-105 with 3:05 remaining in overtime, Pima went on a 6-0 run to seal the win. Sophomore Justice Martion made a pair of free throws while the Aztecs’ defense kept South Mountain’s bench quiet.
All five starters scored in double figures. Sophomore Yusuf Shehata led the team with 27 points, making five 3-pointers. Martion scored 26 points with 10-of-15 shots made at the dish. Freshman Kwinitin Williams had a double-double with 18 points and 15 rebounds.
Freshman Keven Biggs scored 18 as well, while sophomore Cameron Volk scored 15 points.
The Aztecs swept the regular season series with the Cougars. The Aztecs won 81-79 in their previous meeting.
Sophomores Ezini Ugbisien, Volk, Martion and Shehata were honored at halftime in their final regular season home game.
On Feb. 17, the Aztecs defeated Central Arizona College 95-88 after leading 45-38 at halftime.
Three Aztecs scored more than 20 points in the game. Williams had a double-double of 24 points and 15 rebounds, Shehata finished with 22 points while going 6-for-10 in shooting and Martion had 21 points and three steals, while Biggs contributed with 11 points.
The Aztecs avenged their 70-62 loss against Central Arizona on Jan. 9 with the win.
Pima was unable to hold a double-digit lead on Feb. 10 against Mesa Community College and faltered 94-91.
Pima at one point held a 14-point lead at 22-8 and eventually led 48-39 at halftime.
At the start of the second half, freshman Damon Dubots hit consecutive free throws to make it a 50-39 score.
Williams made a three pointer, continuing Pima’s double-digit lead at 55-45. The Mesa Thunderbirds then went on an 11-2 run, trimming the deficit to one point at 57-56 with 12:37 remaining in the second half.
After a series of back-and-forth shots, the Thunderbirds’ successful rally came to fruition and they led 64-63 with 9:11 to go. The Aztecs regained the lead soon after when Biggs hit a three-pointer, putting the team in front 76-75 at the 3:50 mark.
Shehata led the team in scoring with 24 points while hitting 8-for-12 and 6-for-8 at three-point range. Shehata included eight assists in his successful game.
Martion finished with 21 points and eight rebounds while Biggs scored 18 points, five assists and eight rebounds. Williams was fourth on the team in scoring with 16 points while shooting 7-for-8 off the bench.
PCC was swept in both games against the Thunderbirds this season.
Pima’s regular season finale took place Feb. 23 at Scottsdale Community College, after Aztec Press went to the printer.
March 2: @ Region I, Division II Playoffs (Semifinals), TBA
March 4: @ Region I, Division II Playoffs (Finals), TBA
March 15: @ NJCAA Division II National Tournament, TBA