Pima College had 22 points from Kennedy Koehler, career-high 18 points from former Tucson High School standout Jordan Robinson and 14 rebounds by Robby Wilson but it was not enough to keep the Aztecs alive in the NJCAA Division II tournament at Danville, Ill.
The Aztecs, who advanced to the championship game last season, ended their season 26-7 with an 81-72 loss to Cecil (Md.) College in a first round game Tuesday.
Sophomore guard Abram Carrasco could not get on track finishing with seven points on 3-of-10 shooting with four assists. The former Cholla star finishes as Pima’s career scoring leader with 1,262 points in his two seasons playing for coach Brian Peabody.
Freshman guard Rashad Smith finished with nine points. Smith and Carrasco uncharacteristically combined for nine turnovers.
Pima, which had 21 turnovers overall, squandered a 62-55 lead with 5:54 left after Koehler made a layup after previously nailing a 3-pointer.
The Aztecs went scoreless until Koehler made two free throws with 3:55 left to give Pima a 64-63 lead.
They had a field goal drought of 5 minutes, 27 seconds, until Robinson finally made a shot in the lane and converted a 3-point play with 27 seconds left to cut the lead to 76-70. That was as close as Pima would get because Cecil made free throws down the stretch.
Pima outrebounded Cecil 50-41 but the Aztecs committed those 21 turnovers and missed 11 free throws (converting 16 of 27 shots at the line).