The Glendale Gauchos squared off against the Central Arizona Vaqueros in a conference matchup on Feb. 10 at the Glendale Community College Gymnasium. The matchup featured two teams trending in different directions with the playoffs rapidly approaching.
The Gauchos went into the contest with an overall record of 13-12 and having won two of their last three. One win came in an overtime thriller against rival Phoenix College on February 6 which gave the Gauchos a load of confidence heading into the game.
“I think we can just carry over the having fun part of the game and enjoying playing with each other,” said Gaucho guard Chazz Wade
“As Chazz was saying you know just carry over having fun because at the beginning of the season we were really rolling… and we’re starting to find that again,” said GCC guard Chandler Solis
Central Arizona came into the matchup having lost three in a row and four of their last five. The Vaqueros were hungry for a victory as they were looking to end their slump and gain some much needed confidence heading into the stretch run of the season.
The first half was a rough one for both teams as they both had trouble getting baskets to fall. Both teams struggled to get their offense into any sort of flow and it showed as both teams committed several turnovers and were not able to get any sort of comfortable lead against one another.
The Gauchos were able to convert on their fast break opportunities, but gave up several second chance points on defense which kept Central Arizona in the game.
At the end of the first half GCC led the Vaqueros with a score of 39-38.
GCC began the second half looking to stop Central Arizona from coming down with second chance opportunities. Gaucho forward Trey Johnson was a huge key to that as he finished the game with 10 rebounds and added 16 points to get himself a double- double.
As the half went on, GCC struggled to put away Central Arizona thanks to Vaqueros guard Mike Nwabuzor who had himself a night. Nwabuzor had an all around performance as he recorded a triple- double with 22 points, 18 rebounds, and 12 assists.
However, Nwabuzor’s night would not be enough for CAC as the Gauchos turned in an impressive defensive performance to close out the game.
The charge was led by guard Chazz Wade as he was constantly getting his hands on the ball and deflecting away passes that turned into easy fast break opportunities for GCC. Wade not only managed to get it done on the defensive side of the ball, but also put up 17 second half points to lead the Gauchos in scoring with 18 points.
Lopez also had a solid outing with 16 points and 11 assists as the Gauchos took the victory and the season sweep over Central Arizona with a score of 86-73.
“We’ve been preaching all year that we want to be playing our best ball as we head down towards the end of the season and into the playoffs, so I like where our guys are at, they’re playing with confidence and they’re playing together which is great to watch… we’re excited with what we’re doing right now,” said GCC coach Damin Lopez.
The Gauchos will next play against Chandler- Gilbert Community College on Feb. 13 before they close out the season against Tohono O’odham Community College, Arizona Western College, and Cochise College.