Mesa, AZ--In an effort to stay undefeated in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference, the Mesa Community College men's basketball team (3-2, 2-1 ACCAC) fell to the Arizona Western College Matadors (7-1, 3-0 ACCAC) to a tune of 79-69 at Theo Heap Gymnasium in Mesa on Wednesday night.
Even though the Thunderbirds never trailed by more than 14 points the entire game, a total of 22 turnovers and only burying 12 of their 22 free throw attempts was just enough to never take away momentum from Arizona Western.
Both teams started the game very evenly as Arizona Western's sophomore Cameron Young finished at the rim and nailed a three-pointer while Mesa's sophomores Jordan Pratt and Nate Jimerson traded perimeter shots to tie the score early at 9-9.
After Young and sophomore Andre Nikita buried consecutive jump shots for the Matadors, Mesa's freshman Trevor Johnson connected on three straight layups and Jimerson hit another three to give the Thunderbirds a 22-15 lead with only 8:42 remaining in the first half.
Both Mesa and Arizona Western traded blows until the Matadors ended the first half on an 8-0 scoring run assisted by three-point jumpers from Young and sophomore Cambrian Antrillo, and a layup from sophomore Jamaree Strickland to give Arizona Western the lead at the half, 43-35.
The Matadors carried their eight-point lead well into the second half, that is until Johnson, sophomore Kyle Bingham and freshman Obi Megwa followed through on four different free throw attempts to cut the deficit to 55-51 for Mesa.
Unfortunately for the Thunderbirds, that is all the closer they would get for the remainder of the night as Arizona Western outscored Mesa 24-18 over the final 9:16 of the game, giving Mesa their first conference loss this season, 79-69.
In an attempt to get back to their winning ways, the Thunderbirds will next be in action next Wednesday night at 7:30 MST when they play host to the Phoenix College Bears at Theo Heap Gymnasium in yet another ACCAC match-up.