THATCHER — The Cochise College men’s basketball team held on to sole possession of first place in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference following an 80-69 win over Eastern Arizona College Tuesday.

The victory pushed the Apaches’ winning streak to five games.

Cochise previously defeated the Gila Monsters 118-70 at home on Feb. 16.

A somewhat sluggish first-half performance by the Apaches had Cochise trailing Eastern 32-29 at the intermission.

The Apaches responded with a more complete second half effort, outscoring the Gila Monsters 51-37.

Cochise was led in scoring by freshman Stephen Byard, who poured in 22 points. Sophomore Patrick Samoura followed with 15 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Jalun Trent chipped in 12 points and had eight rebounds and seven assists.

“It was a very solid team win tonight on the road,” Cochise College coach Jerry Carrillo said. “I thought our guys off the bench sparked us tonight as Kalep Crane, Johnny Garcia, Kyle Moore and Donte Dupriest all came in and gave great efforts to help us in this road win, when we did start out the game slowly.”

Assistant coach Derek Lane added, “Coach Carrillo challenged our guys at halftime about ‘honoring the process’ and just playing the ‘right way’ for 20 minutes and our guys responded.”

“I am proud of my teammates for stepping up to the challenge,” Samoura said after the win.

“The coaching staff challenged us at halftime to have a much better sense of urgency going into the second half. We need to continue to have great energy for 40 minutes.”

Cochise, 5-2 overall, 5-1 in ACCAC play, has a rematch with Eastern Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in the Stronghold Gymnasium. The games can be viewed through the Cochise College Athletics website or the Cochise College YouTube channel.

Cochise women lose

The Cochise College women’s basketball team struggled offensively in a 64-42 loss to Eastern Tuesday.

The loss was the sixth straight for Cochise, which continues to look for its first win of the season.

The 42 points is a season low for the Apaches. Cochise, 0-6, has a rematch with Eastern Friday at 5:30 p.m. in Cochise Stronghold.

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