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Monsters Beat #18 Arizona Western

The key to Eastern Arizona College’s victory over No. 18 in the nation Arizona Western Wednesday night was an unlikely source. Freshman guard Chris Pruitt, starting for the injured Brandon Magee, had a game- and career-high 23 points, including 7-for-10 from beyond the 3-point arc.

The highly anticipated ACCAC match-up was close early, but the Gila Monsters pulled away and held a 24-point lead at the break. After another basket to open the second half, EAC held its biggest lead of the game at 53-27, but the game was far from over.

The Matadors climbed all the way back to within seven points at the 2:29 mark, but could get no closer. The Monsters’ Dazmond Starke scored back-to-back baskets to put the game out of reach.

Starke finished the game with 19 points and five rebounds while Donald Johnson tallied his eighth double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds. He also shared a game-high of three blocks.

EAC’s leading scorer Mike James could not find his touch from the field finishing the game 1-for-14 from the field, but tallied six points, six assists, and four steals on the night.

Arizona Western was led by Alonzo Brandon with 19 points and 10 rebounds and Rafael Crescencio with 16 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.

Next up for the Gila Monsters is another home game against Mesa College Saturday at 7:30 p.m. In the first meeting between the two teams, Mesa defeated EAC 73-71 to open ACCAC league play. Arizona Western hosts Yavapai Saturday at 7:30 p.m., as well.