The No. 9-ranked (NJCAA DII) Pima Community College men’s basketball team (12-5) fell short against no. 25-ranked (NJCAA DI) Cochise College 87-78 in a physical back-and-forth battle at West Campus Aztec Gymnasium on Wednesday.
Pima was ahead 70-66 with 7:10 remaining, but Cochise finished the second half on a 21-8 run in a game that saw nine ties and six lead changes.
The Aztecs led by 12 points with 13:55 left in the first half and held a 44-40 lead over the Apaches at halftime, but in the end, it was Cochise’s physicality and ability to get to the free-throw line that put the Apaches over the top in the second half.
“They were way more physical than us,” Pima head coach Brian Peabody said. “They got to the free throw line 30 times; we got there four.”
The official numbers show that Pima had 19 fewer free throw attempts than Cochise, and it was the Apaches’ grit around the rim on offense that led to the free throw attempt disparity. Cochise’s ability to defend in the post was also a deciding factor.
“I just wanted them to compete,” Peabody said. “We knew that Cochise was going to play hard. They’re the best team in our league. Historically, they’ve been the best team in our league, and we’re just trying to compete with them. I think we just didn’t. They were just a better team than us tonight.”
Sophomore Daniel Moody (Walden Grove) finished a game-high 32 points after going 11 for 18 shooting and 7 for 13 from three-point range. He added 10 rebounds.
Sophomore Chrishon Dixon finished with eight points and seven assists.
Freshman Itury Kitt finished with 11 points.
The Aztecs play at Eastern Arizona College on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writing intern Kevin Murphy was born and raised in Tucson, and has followed Arizona Wildcats athletics since childhood. He is currently attending Pima Community College where he writes for the Aztec Press. Next semester he will be attending the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU where he will work towards a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies.