Information from Pima media-relations director Raymond Suarez contributed to this report:
Kota Benson, who started his high school career at Baboquivari in Sells before ending with more than 1,200 career points while finishing at Mesa, was a significant factor off the bench for Division II Pima Community College in its 81-69 win Saturday over Division I program Cochise College.
The 14th-ranked Aztecs (14-1, 6-1 in ACCAC) have won six consecutive games.
They return to the West Campus Aztec Gymnasium on Wednesday when they play a highly-anticipated game against Chandler-Gilbert (13-1, 6-1). Tipoff is 7:30 p.m.
The only loss for Pima came at the hands of the Coyotes in a 79-69 loss on Dec. 13.
Benson scored a team-high 21 points in Saturday’s win at Cochise coming off the bench. He also had two rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Cochise (10-8, 3-4) cut Pima’s lead to 60-51 with 7:21 left forcing the Aztecs to call timeout.
Benson, who led Baboquivari to the 1A semifinals as a freshman in 2019-20, hit a 3-pointer following the timeout.
He collected a steal and scored on the next possession to put the Aztecs ahead 65-51.
Benson responded with another shot from beyond the arc minutes later to give Pima a 75-61 lead.
The Apaches cut the lead to 77-67 on a 3-pointer but Benson answered again with a 3-pointer to put the score at 80-67.
Benson scored 15 points in the final 7:21 of the game.
The Aztecs led 17-8 before putting together a 20-2 run to take their biggest lead of the game at 37-10 with 8:49 left in the first half.
Pima led 45-27 at the break.
Sophomore Tanner Poeschl, another reserve, finished with 19 points and six rebounds.
Freshman Gabe Oldham posted a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds while sophomore Dillan Baker (Salpointe grad) also added 13 points.
·Freshman Moses Demalek contributed 10 rebounds and five assists.