With the holidays now over and a new year beginning, Scottsdale and Mesa Junior College stand at the top of the ACCAC basketball standings, as each of the junior college programs look to prepare for a strong finish to the junior college season. With numerous tournaments taking place this holidays season and individual games, Scottsdale and Mesa both had strong performances through the first half of the season.
Scottsdale JC (14-1), led by Head Coach Mark Bunker, has had a terrific start to the junior college season, and is currently ranked as the nation's #13 team among Division-II programs in the NJCAA. Scottsdale is on fire this season and has won (9) straight games - possessing a nice 14-1 overall record on the season. Scottsdale edged out a tough Glendale team on Saturday, 97-94, behind another big performance from 6-foot-5 sophomore wing Xavier Fuller (pictured), who poured in a game-high 34 points. Fuller also recently received an offer from Northern Arizona University.
Glendale was led in the game by 6-foot-5 freshman Cassius Carmichael who poured in a team-high 25 points in the loss for the Gauchos, while Terrell Handy Johnson added 22. Both teams were on fire in the game and shot better than 50 percent from the field in the contest.
Mesa Junior College (10-5) hosted their Fiesta Bowl Shootout over the holidays and faced some stiff competition in the event. Mesa came back Saturday to defeat a talented Pima program, 63-62, on a Cameron Burist three-pointer at the buzzer. Rajhan Billingley came off the bench for MCC to lead his team with 18 points, while 6-foot-6 sophomore wing Jok Jok added 13. Pima was led by 6-foot-5 sophomore Rashad Smith (Grand Canyon University signee) who finished with a game-high 24 points.
Arizona Western and Eastern Arizona both have a record of 5-2 and are in the hunt, although Arizona Western dropped a big loss at the hands of South Mountain on Saturday.
While South Mountain has seen some struggles this season, they began the year with a huge win on the road over Arizona Western, 74-69. Anthony Jarrimillo knocked down 5 of 6 three-pointers, all in the game's second half, and finished with 18 points, while Kareem Clark contributed 17 points for SMCC in the win. South Mountain improved to 6-9 on the season and 2-5 in league play. AZ Western is now 11-4 overall.
Eastern Arizona (13-2) won its 2020 league opener with a 78-71 victory over Phoenix College Saturday. EAC was led in the game by 6-foot-3 freshman guard Jalen Brown who finished with a game-high 25 points. Brown came off the bench to lead his team, while 6-foot-6 sophomore forward Nathaniel Pollard, Jr. contributed 16 points in the win.