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.