MESA, AZ - In a game of streaks, and yet a wire-to-wire win, Mesa reached the Region I, Division I championship game with an 80-71 victory over Arizona Western Saturday night in Theo Heap Gym.
Mesa will host Cochise, a 99-95 overtime winner over Central Arizona, on Monday at 7:30 p.m. and it tries for its second regional title in a row.
Against AWC, Mesa (21-8) built two big leads, but saw the Matadors (17-14) charge back each time.
The T-Birds began the game with a quick, 10-0, lead as Andrew Jones (So., Portland, Ore/Westview H.S.) hit three consecutive three-pointers.
Gradually, however, the Maadors climbed back and eventually got to within 31-30 on a layup by Cambrian Antrillo with 6:24 left in the half.
That was virtually all the scoring for the rest of the half, with only a three by Khari Holloway (So., Jackson, Miss/Mountain Pointe (AZ) H.S.) at the 3:51 mark as the only points for either team.
Leading at halftime, 34-30, MCC scored the first 16 points of the second half and eventually expanded its margin to 24, 60-36, with 11:02 to play.'
At that point Western ran off ten unanswered points and slowly climbed to with five, 70-65, with 1:51 to go.
Mesa then used its free throw shooting prowess as the nation's number three team in that department, and hit ten straight down the stretch.
Jones finished with 24 points, his season high, and Holloway added 24 of his own. Mitch Burnett (Fr., Phoenix, AZ/Central H.S.) added ten and a team-high eight rebounds.