Matadors Hang On Against Late Mesa Comeback, T-Birds Fall, 82-73

Mikel Beyers scored a game high 21 points against Arizona Western Thursday night.
Mikel Beyers scored a game high 21 points against Arizona Western Thursday night.

Mesa, AZ - The Mesa Thunderbirds looked dead to rights in the first 10 minutes of the game as they couldn't hit water if they fell out of a boat while the Arizona Western Matadors built a lead as large as 20.  But a dramatic comeback by the T-Birds almost led to an incredible come from behind victory but it was the Matadors who survived and won, 82-73.

Mesa's first basket wasn't scored till the nine minute mark of the first half, coming from a three point shot by Malique Washington.  That made it a 19-5 game at the time.  But Mesa was able to riddle of 10 straight points to make it a 19-12 game.

The Matadors took a comfortable 37-21 lead into halftime but it was anything but comfortable for Arizona Western after the break as the T-Birds found their stride and their shot.  Led by Mikel Beyers, who slammed home a few thunderous dunks and finished with a game high 21 points, Mesa rallied back to close the Matador lead to just two points, 60-58, at the five minute mark.

That was the closest Mesa would get to making a dramatic comeback.  Along with a strong scoring night from Beyers, Antwan Ross-Jones finished with 20 points, four rebounds and three assists.

The T-Birds fall to 3-5 overall for the season and 3-2 in conference play.  Mesa men's basketball will play on Monday night against Lethbridge University out of Alberta, Canada.  This is a men's only game with a 7 pm tipoff.

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