The Cochise College men’s basketball team continued its new year win streak with a 78-74 win at South Mountain on Saturday afternoon. The win moves the Apaches to 12-5 overall and 6-3 in the ACCAC.
South Mountain started the game strong, making six of their first seven shots to take an early 15-9 lead. Sophomore Naje Smith would counter by scoring 12 of his game-high 29 points over the next six minutes to help Cochise erase the early deficit and eventually lead 41-37 at the break.
Ball movement and strong defense would allow Cochise to take a ten-point lead midway through the second half, but the Cougars would make one last push, eventually knotting the game up with three minutes to go.
Once again, Naje Smith would make crucial baskets down the stretch to give Cochise the lead, while sophomore Damon Wall would sink two key free-throws to provide Cochise with a 77-74 lead with 19 seconds to go.
Freshman QuayShawn Gentry would make the play of the game, forcing a turnover in the final seconds to preserve the Cochise win.
“Early on, it didn’t seem like we were trying very hard defensively,” Cochise Head Coach Jerry Carrillo said. “South made shots, but it didn’t seem like we were trying very hard to contest those shots. Eventually, we started having energy and enthusiasm on the defensive end, which helped us get the lead, then we had guys make plays down the stretch to get the win.”
Stat(s) of the Night
The Apaches dominated SMCC from the free-throw line, going 17-23 compared to SMCC going 5-7.
The Apaches host the Gauchos from Glendale Community College on Wednesday, January 15, at the Stronghold Gymnasium at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.