Pima Community College sports

No. 20 Pima men win thriller over South Mountain behind Cesar Saenz’s late shot

Pima’s Cesar Saenz (Stephanie van Latum/Special to AllSportsTucson.com)

The No. 20 Pima Community College men’s basketball team narrowly beat South Mountain 61-60 on Wednesday night in Phoenix behind a late basket by Sabino graduate Cesar Saenz with 20 seconds left.

The Aztecs (19-5, 11-5 in ACCAC) snapped a four-game road losing streak with the win.

Trailing 59-57, the Aztecs tied the game when freshman Dillan Baker (Salpointe Catholic) collected an offensive rebound and scored in the paint with 57.4 seconds left.

The Cougars (12-13, 4-13) were fouled and converted on 1 for 2 free throws with 31.0 seconds remaining to go back up by one point. Saenz, a sophomore, drove to the basket and scored in the paint putting the Aztecs back up with 20 seconds on the clock.

Both teams called timeout with 1.4 seconds left. The Cougars went to Darien Allen, who was open for a three-pointer but his shot hit the front of the rim as time expired.

There were eight lead changes in the second half; six occurred in the first seven minutes of the second half.

Sophomore Pablo Gutierrez (Sabino) hit a pair of free throws and scored on the next trip down the floor giving Pima their biggest lead at 48-43 with 7:33 left in the game. The Cougars led by four points in the first half on a couple of occasions, which turned out to be their biggest lead of the game.

Saenz scored a team-high 14 points along with seven rebounds, five assists and three steals.

Baker fell short of a double-double as he finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.

Traivar Jackson also scored in double figures as he posted 10 points and six rebounds. Freshman Jaylen Alexander contributed with eight points and eight rebounds.

The Aztecs will return to the West Campus Aztec Gymnasium on Saturday when they host Mesa. Tipoff is set for 2:00 p.m.

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