The North Idaho College men’s basketball team pushed in the first half but Arizona Western College pushed back a little harder in the second to win in overtime 92-89 at Christianson Gymnasium Saturday night.
Arizona Western sophomore Darrious Hamilton’s layup tied the game at 76 to send it into overtime.
Brad Wallace’s 3-pointer pushed the score to 89-90 in the overtime, but the Matadors’ free-throw shooting kept the Cardinals at bay. “Their (Cardinals) performance was actually really good, to be honest,” NIC head coach Jared Phay said. “Our goal is to get better and we played a really good team tonight and we had a chance to beat them tonight, but we had some key turnovers, missed some free throws that hurt us. But we should walk out of here with our heads held high knowing we competed with a really good team.”
Freshman forward Braxton Tucker lead the charge for the Cardinals with 24 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Bryce Leavitt added 11 points, all of them coming from the free-throw line, and eight rebounds too. “The things I can do individually is just keep working on my 3-point shooting and finish a little bit better around the rim,” Leavitt said. “Our team is pretty young so we got to make sure we focus and practice more.”
Freshman guards Cole Kesler and Brad Wallace sank some very key 3-pointers to keep the Cardinals ahead, mounting a 13-point lead at one point during the first minutes of the second half. “Even though I miss here and there, Me and Brad Wallace are talking and we are looking for each other, looking for picks and screens,” Kesler said. “Brad and I are going to keep shooting and keep putting buckets in.”