Arizona Western men’s and women’s hoops get back on track after tough road trip
YUMA, Ariz., (KYMA, KECY) - With a new structure to the ACCAC conference schedule, teams across the league will be on as many as four home-and-away game runs. For the Arizona Western College Matadors, they were given arguably the toughest test on the road at the midpoint of the season.
The Matadors were on the road for four straight right out of the winter break, both men's and women's squads dropping their last two at Pima and Eastern Arizona.
But Wednesday night the two found themselves back at home in a bounce back spot with Yavapai in town.
The men's squad did their business, jumping out to a big first half lead with the help of Noah Tovar going on an 11-point outburst on his own to put their Matadors up by double-digits. Then a thunderous slam with seconds left in the half by Marquis Hargrove sent the Matadors to the break up by 20.
They would roll from there, winning 84-49 to get back in the win column. Yaxel Lendeborg, Marquis Hargrove and Noah Tovar each led the way with 14 points.
Coach Kyle Isaacs explained afterwards the importance of getting back in a rhythm at home after the tough road stretch.
"They didn't do us any favors when they made the schedule, getting four games on the road right after winter break. It felt good to actually be in our gym and shoot at our rims, with our own backboard, and our fans," said Isaacs. "We took a big look in the mirror, started focusing on what mattered, and the result of it was good effort and good energy tonight."
The second year head coach also touching on how big of a win it was to help spring them forward in the second half of the season.
"There's still a lot of time left. In my opinion, we have had the toughest road schedule yet in the conference," added Isaacs. A lot of other teams have to make up games that we've already played on the road. So from that standpoint, we're sitting in a good spot and a lot of stuff can happen. As long as we're playing hard, I like our chances."
Just moments later, the women's team took the floor as coach Patrick Cunningham and the Matadors also aimed to use the home floor to their advantage after dropping three of four.
They would be in a tight battle through most of the first quarter before pulling away from the Roughriders - taking a 14-point lead into the halftime break.
The Lady Mats then secured the win by winning both the third and fourth quarters again, led by Madison Zugna's double-double of 15 points and 17 boards. Kristol Ayson also added 15 points in the win.
Both men's and women's squads will hit their home floor again on Saturday in a meeting with the Phoenix Bears, starting with a men's 2 pm tip off.