Saenz scores 22 points but Aztec men fall in final seconds at Cochise
The Pima Community College men’s basketball team (18-5, 10-5) swallowed a tough pill on Saturday in their attempt to hand Cochise College (21-2, 15-0) its first ACCAC conference loss of the season.
The No. 14-ranked Aztecs (Division II) fell to the No. 16 ranked Apaches (Division I) 73-71. The Aztecs have dropped four of their last six games.
Sophomore Traivar Jackson scored the last seven Pima points and he hit a jumper to tie the game at 71-71. A timeout was called with 08.1 seconds left. The Apaches came out of the timeout and Tyreese Watson drove to the basket and scored on a layup. A last second heave from sophomore Cesar Saenz (Sabino HS) fell short.
The Aztecs trailed 42-34 in the early minutes of the second half but went on a 24-11 run in 10 minutes. Freshman Jamison Kay (Gila Ridge HS) converted on a three-point play with 7:20 left to give Pima a 58-53 lead, which matched their biggest advantage of the game. The Apaches scored the next five points to tie the game at 58-58 with six minutes left. The teams went back and fourth as there were four lead changes and three ties in that final stretch.
The Aztecs trailed for much of the first half. Cochise took their biggest lead at 25-15 with 6:12 left but freshmen Mike Pope and Dillan Baker (Salpointe Catholic HS) hit back-to-back three-pointers to close the gap to four points at 25-21. Pima cut it to two points at 27-25 after a basket by Saenz but the Apaches scored seven of the final nine points of the half. The Aztecs trailed 34-27 at halftime.
Saenz finished the game with a team-high 22 points along with five rebounds and three assists. Jackson posted 15 points, four rebounds, three steals, two assists and one block.
Baker closed out the game with 14 points and five rebounds, while Pope posted nine points.
The Aztecs are back on the road on Wednesday when they play at South Mountain Community College. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m.
PCC 27 44 71
CC 34 39 73