YUMA, AZ – The Arizona Western College Matadors defeated the Eastern Arizona Gila Monsters by a final of 79-70 in Thursday night’s Region 1 Semifinal at “The House” in Yuma.
With the victory, the AWC Matadors improve to 24-7 overall and remain 17-5 in ACCAC play, while Eastern Arizona sees their season come to an end with an overall mark of 19-12 and 13-9 in ACCAC play.
The Matadors were down to of their top scoring guards in Ron Lee and EJ Twyman, but that didn’t seem to matter Thursday evening.
In the first half, the Matadors attacked early and often as they lead by 11 at the break with a 38-27 lead. AWC shot 44% from the floor to Eastern’s 30% and were led in scoring by Brandon Lovings with 14 points.
The second half was a back-and-forth battle between the rivals with Eastern actually owning the scoring edge 43-41, but in the end the Matadors held off the Gila Monsters for a 79-70 victory and a chance at a Region 1 Championship.
The Matadors were led in scoring by Darrious Hamilton who played for the first time in two weeks with 18 points and 18 rebounds on 6-of-10 shooting.
Eastern Arizona was led in scoring by ACCAC Player of the Year Taylor Stafford who finished with 26 points on 10-of-27 shooting.
The Matadors season lives on for another day as they advance to the Region 1 Championship game in Mesa on Saturday night. AWC swept the T-Birds in the season series with the Mats winning at Mesa by just one point. Tip time for Saturday’s contest is scheduled for 7:30pm and you can hear the game live on 560 KBLU-AM with our pre-game coverage starting at 7:20pm.