Jeremy Paulison

Men’s T-Bird basketball cruised to a 97-62 victory against the Central Arizona College Vaqueros for their 19th win of the season on Feb. 5 at Theo J. Heap Gymnasium.

Mesa has been victorious in seven of their last eight games.

With this win, Mesa swept the regular season series with Central Arizona.

The T-Birds improved to 19-4 on the season and 15-2 in conference place, maintaining the top spot in the conference over Western Arizona.

Central Arizona dropped to 6-11 in conference play, and 10-15 overall.

The T-Birds were a blistering hot 42-65 from the field (64.6 percent), while the Vaqueros went 20-43 (46.5 percent).

After dominating the Vaqueros 85-60 in their first matchup, the T-Birds knew they couldn’t relax.

“Everyone’s been coming at us and giving us their best shot,” sophomore guard Kyle Tomlinson said.

Tomlinson was one of five T-Birds to reach double figures in scoring, pouring in 12 points to go along with six assists and four rebounds off the bench.

Central Arizona was only able to dress six players, making it very difficult to deal with Mesa’s depth.

T-Birds Head Coach Sam Ballard went deep into his bench, as 10 different T-Birds recorded at least 13 minutes on the court.

There was cause for concern as sophomore forward Camyn Boone registered his second foul with 16:49 to play in the first half, with the score tied up at four.

The Vaqueros hung around for a bit, but sophomore forward Ryan Hintze sparked a 17-4 run, totaling 10 first half points.

For the game, Hintze went nine for nine from the field, tying sophomore guard Tre Ogles for a team high with 18 points.

Due to the Vaqueros lack of depth, they went to a zone defense early on and the T-Birds were able to take advantage of that in a big way.

Crisp ball movement resulted in Mesa shooting 11 for 22 from three-point range, and a whopping 26-10 assist disparity.

“They were kind of running short on people,” Tomlinson added. “So it was ball movement and getting shots.” 

Mesa lead 44-30 at half and the second half was more of the same, as Mesa used a 21-8 second half to put things out of reach.

Sophomores Shy McClelland and Camyn Boone combined to play 37 minutes, giving the bench minutes in the blowout.

“I feel great. I’m so glad that we had our bench come out there like that,” sophomore guard Jeffrey Bonner said.

Sophomore guard Lanerryl Esters led the way for Central Arizona, scoring 18 of his game-high 23 points in the second half.

Mesa took on Pima Community College on Feb. 8 and won 85-70 for their 20th victory.

McClelland had a double double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. 

Boone led all scorers with 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

Sophomore Sami Bzai made 16 points from five three-pointers.

Mesa’s next home game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 18 at Heap Gymnasium against Chandler-Gilbert.

Mesa Legend Staff

Mesa Legend Staff

These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.
Mesa Legend Staff

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