Arizona Western cruises to win over Vaqueros
By ED PETRUSKA Contributing Writer Jan 6, 2018 Pinal Central
SIGNAL PEAK — Developing a winning formula has been a difficult task for the Central Arizona College men's basketball team this season.
The Vaqueros were looking to make some headway in Saturday's game against Arizona Western, only to be tagged with an 88-67 loss at the George Young Activity Center that dropped their Arizona Community College Athletic Conference record to 1-6.
Central (5-9 overall) trailed by as many as 32 points before staging a late rally to make the final score a little more respectable. The Vaqueros were down by 21 points in the first half, but had more than a glimmer of hope after trimming the deficit to 37-26 at halftime.
"We were very optimistic," CAC coach Tramaine Aaron said. "We had the momentum on our side."
That was quickly wiped away in the first five minutes of the second half. The Matadors (9-6, 4-3 ACCAC) seized command with a 16-2 surge that featured back-to-back baskets from Lamont Traylor, a four-point play by Dajuan Beard and Daryl Adams' 3-pointer.
AWC's lead grew to 69-37 with 8:53 to play on Brandon McGhee's second straight basket.
"Our execution was poor. It wasn't where it needed to be, especially against a team like Western," Aaron said. "They were definitely the aggressor. They were more poised and more physical."
Aaron said a lack of consistency has been Central's most glaring weakness thus far.
"I wish I could know what I'll be getting from everybody every day," he said.
The Vaqueros made some inroads in the late stages, going on a 13-2 run to pull within 77-61. Danny Garrick made two of his five 3-pointers while scoring 11 of his team-high 24 points during the surge, which ended on Quincy Smith's free throw with 2:06 remaining.
Before that, Central was in danger of not surpassing its previous season-low point total of 59.
Garrick compiled 21 points in the second half.
Andrew Leonard had 14 points for the Vaqueros. Leading scorer Trevor Irish (16.7 average) was limited to six points, all in the first half.
Traylor topped the Matadors with 16 points, followed by Ezekiel Alley with 15, Beard with 12 and Andre Allen with 10.
Central was coming off Wednesday night's 85-79 loss at Mesa. The Vaqueros were outscored 53-29 in the second half after taking a 50-32 halftime lead.
Despite the rocky start, CAC is still very much in the hunt for the fourth and final Division I Region 1 playoff berth. Going into Saturday's games, Cochise was 5-1 in conference play, Mesa was 4-2 and Eastern Arizona was 1-5.