Montsers Clinch Play-off Spot
Chandler, AZ --
It took resilience and a career performance by freshman guard Kalonji Paschal for the Gila Monsters to clinch fourth place in the ACCAC Division I playoffs with an 87-84 victory at Chandler-Gilbert College.
Paschal scored a career-high 20 points on 8-for-13 shooting and tallied a team-high four assists as EAC outlasted the Coyotes.
Chandler-Gilbert, the first-place team on the Division II side of the ACCAC and ranked No. 16 in the nation in its division, jumped out to a 22-10 lead halfway through the first half. Despite the tough start, the Monsters battled back and trailed by just five at the half, 39-34.
They trailed by the same deficit, 73-68, with 2:48 remaining in regulation and went on a 7-2 run to tie the game at 75-75 with 39.5 seconds left.
The Coyotes called a timeout to set up a play, but came up empty. On the ensuing possession, freshman guard Mike James missed a jumper from the left side and the ball was knocked out of bounds off EAC with just a few seconds left. Freshman Dazmond Starke stole the inbounds pass, but a runner from 30 feet came up short and the two teams continued to play.
The Monsters quickly controlled the tip-off in the extra period and Paschal hit a runner to take the lead and momentum. Starke scored eight of his 18 points in overtime to finish off the victory. Chandler-Gilbertís Manny Hendrix had a game-tying three-pointer rim out as the final buzzer sounded.
James finished with 19 points and a team-high four assists for EAC while Donald Johnson and Mario Gill had 14 and 12 points respectively. Starke had a team-high eight rebounds.