DeAndre Mathieu scored 28 points, and the Central Arizona College men's basketball team rallied in the final 51⁄2 minutes to register a 72-64 comeback victory over Arizona Western on Wednesday night.
The 18th-ranked Vaqueros trailed 56-52 after Marvin Whitt made a three-pointer to cap a 21-6 run by the Matadors, who trailed 46-35 prior to the surge.
After CAC (13-3, 7-1 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) went ahead 57-56 on Mathieu's basket and Herve Aholode's three-point play, Arizona Western (11-4, 5-1) took its final lead at 58-57 when Whitt made two technical free throws.
Aholode then made two free throws to put Central ahead to stay, igniting a 9-2 run that included DesJaun Newton's three-pointer. Mathieu's second-chance basket with about 11⁄2 minutes left gave the Vaqueros a 68-62 lead.
After Western closed within 68-64 with 1:02 remaining on two free throws by Keywhon Powns, CAC made 4 of 7 free throws in the final minute.
"I think the key was that we believe in our system, we believe in each other and we stick with what we do," Central coach Jordan Dreiling said. "It was a close game. We got stops, we rebounded and we got shots that we wanted."
There were 13 lead changes in the game — seven in the second half.
Up 27-24 at halftime, the Vaqueros outscored the Matadors 19-11 to begin the second half. They led by 11 points on four occasions, the last time at 46-35 on Aholode's tip-in.
Western came storming back, starting with three-pointers by Whitt and Darien Walker.
Mathieu scored six points during 10-0 run in the first half that gave the Vaqueros an 18-9 lead.
Newton finished with 17 points and Aholode had 11 for CAC. Mathieu led the Vaqueros in rebounds with eight.
Whitt scored 22 points for the Matadors, who also got 10 apiece from Aaseem Dixon, Walker and Carlos Perez.