T-Birds Take Down Rival Cochise College, 78-66

Rajhan Billingsley scored 14 points on the night as Mesa defeated the Cochise Apaches, 78-66. (Photo by Edward Willikens)
Rajhan Billingsley scored 14 points on the night as Mesa defeated the Cochise Apaches, 78-66. (Photo by Edward Willikens)

Mesa, AZ - The Mesa Thunderbirds men's basketball team takes down the Cochise Apaches, 78-66, in what will go down as the biggest win of the first half of the season for the T-Birds.

Cochise, who is Receiving Votes in this week's NJCAA DI polls, boasted a 9-2 overall record coming into tonights game.  However, not once tonight did the Apaches take a lead as Mesa took a wire-to-wire victory over its division rival.

Mesa held a hot hand throughout the night, connecting on 36.9 percent (24-65) while knocking down 10 three-pointers.  The T-Birds also made clutch free-throws, especially down the stretch, making 20-26 (76.9%). 

Leading the way for the T-Birds was point guard Elijah Moore, who finished with 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists.  It was Moore's critical three-pointer with just one second left on the shot clock, with Mesa only up by three, that made the difference in the game.  That three pushed the T-Birds lead to 69-63.  On the ensueing offensive possession for Cochise, Cam Burist was able to steal the ball and call timeout.  It was then Burist on that next possession after the timeout that nailed a huge three to extend Mesa's lead to 72-63.

Also scoring in double-figures for Mesa was Rajhan Billingsley who had 14 while also collecting six rebounds and Nik Nehls who finished with 13 points.

Mesa moves to 6-4 on the season and 3-3 in conference play.   The T-Birds did have a game next Tuesday night against Hillcrest but that game has been cancelled so the T-Birds will be off until the Fiesta Bowl Junior College Shootout December 27-29.

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