Men’s basketball starts strong, cruise to 19 point victory at Central Arizona

Cochise College men’s basketball go into Thanksgiving with 7-2 record, 2-1 in ACCAC

With Thanksgiving break on the horizon, a road game at Central Arizona College could have gone a couple of different ways. The Runnin’ Apaches made sure from the start that they handled business first before going on break.

Cochise jumped out to an early lead, never trailed, and won 73-54 before heading into the three-day break. Defensive integrity, willingness to sprint back, and massive communication on the defensive end were all huge for the Apaches in getting the victory. The team worked on the defensive end of the floor, which was evident all night as CAC could never find a rhythm and ended up shooting 29% from the floor.

The other big key to the night was sophomore Naje Smith pumping in a career-high 33 points, grabbing six rebounds, and setting the tone by having five blocks on the night. Smith repeatedly made tough shots and kept the Apaches lead at double digits most of the night. Freshman Arion Lewis helped seal the victory with timely three’s and going 6-8 from the free-throw line in the last two minutes to finish with 19 points. 

“This was a good win for us moving forward. With Thanksgiving break, sometimes the team can come out and look disinterested like they already want to be home,” said Cochise Head Coach Jerry Carrillo. “Our guys didn’t show that at all. They came out energetic, especially on the defensive end, and it ended up being the best we have played defensively so far this year. We need to build on that as our schedule over the next two weeks is tough.”

Stat(s) of the Night

The Apaches limited CAC to just 18 made field goals for the night.

Up Next

The Apaches will enjoy Thanksgiving break and head to Arizona Western College on Wednesday, December 4. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.