It was a game of two halves for sure, but actually a game of quarters, as South Mountain Junior College overcame a huge second half thirty-three point lead by Arizona Western (AWC). With the game in complete control by the Matadors, Arizona Western watched a tremendous 33-point lead vanish during the second half at South Mountain Community College on Saturday evening.
The game looked in complete control by Arizona Western after 6-foot freshman guard Daryl Adams hit back-to-back three-pointers to put Arizona Western (17-4, 10-3) ahead big, 69-36. Adams finished with 14 points.
South Mountain (10-11, 2-11) rallied behind the play of two players, sophomore forward Desmond Johnson and freshman guard Ferron Flavors. The two Cougars combined for 36 points in the second half, as South Mountain slowly trimmed the deficit.
With 3 minutes left to play in the game, it looked as if Arizona Western would cruise to a big road win, as they held an 18-point lead, 83-65, but South Mountain would force numerous turnovers in the final minutes of the game.
With a 16-point lead for Arizona Western, 83-67, Johnson finished a layup and drew a foul. After a technical foul, South Mountain hit the ensuing free throws to make it 83-72. Two more turnovers turned into buckets for South Mountain to trim the lead to 83-76 with 2:12 left in regulation. Then with :17 seconds to play, 6-foot-7 freshman post James Sosinski (pictured) finished a put-back that cut the Matador lead to 84-83.
After a free-throw by AWC ’s 6-foot-5 freshman forward Andre Jones, which put Arizona Western ahead by two points, South Mountain's Brian Rodriguez tied the game with an offensive rebound and layup. AWC missed a shot at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.
Gifted 6-foot-2 freshman guard Brandon McGhee quickly scored four points to start the overtime, but South Mountain cut the lead to 92-91 after two free throws by Desmond Johnson. Johnson finished with a team-high 23 points.
After a big three from the corner by AWC's Adams, and a layup from 6-foot-5 freshman forward Robert Jones, Arizona Western took a 97-91 lead late. South Mountain's Flavors came back down the floor and completed a straight-away three-pointer - making it a one-possession game. He then followed it up with two free-throws to cut the lead to 97-96 with :59 seconds to go.
Flavors finished with a game-high 27 points (24 coming after halftime).
Andre Jones hammered home a dunk to push the AWC lead back to 99-96 with :30 seconds left, but South Mountain hit two more free throws to trim the lead to one. AWC’s Burke Twyman missed a transition layup after AWC broke the press, and South Mountain's James Sosinski tipped in an offensive rebound with :12 seconds to play to put South Mountain ahead 100-99, leading to the big victory. Sosinski had 23 points in the win.