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Monsters Outlast Glendale

It took every ounce of energy and every point the Eastern Arizona College men’s basketball team could muster to come away victorious Wednesday night. Led by a career-high 58 points poured in by Dazmond Starke and an off-balance game-winner by Mario Gill, the Monsters eked out a 132-131 win in overtime.

After trailing 64-50 at the half—almost a whole-game score in itself—EAC clawed its way back to lead late in regulation. The Gauchos, however, did not give in easily. The home team made 18 three-pointers in the game and three in the last few minutes to force overtime.

Following two Kalonji Paschal free throws, the Monsters led 122-119 with 15.4 seconds remaining in regulation, but Glendale’s Luka Hambsch drained a three to tie the game with just a few seconds remaining. EAC’s Mike James took the inbounds pass, drove the length of the floor, and missed an off-balance runner from the right side at the buzzer.

Donald Johnson won the tip-off to start the extra period and James quickly took the lead right back for the Monsters with a driving lay-up. Starke then hit a break-away lay-up to push the lead to four points, but the game was far from over.

Gaucho James Ellisor hit a three-pointer to close the gap to one and the Monsters’ Johnson was whistled for a loose ball foul on the next possession to put Glendale’s Dyst Madsen at the free throw line for a 1-and-1. Madsen connected on both shots to take the lead 127-126.

In the ensuing possession, Paschal found Starke for one of his game-high 10 assists to give EAC the lead once again. A few trips later, Johnson found Starke in the open court for another lay-up to push the Monster lead to 130-127 with 2:01 remaining in overtime.

Once again, the Gauchos fought back as they scored the next four points to regain the lead heading into to arguably the most important possession of the game. With a one-point lead and possession of the ball, Glendale milked the shot clock for a good shot. The shot they found, however, never hit the rim and they were whistled for a shot clock violation with 7.7 seconds remaining to set up Gill’s heroics.

He took the inbounds pass, drove the length of the floor, and nailed a pull-up jumper with 0.4 seconds on the clock for the victory. The Glendale inbounds pass was tipped by Johnson and the buzzer sounded.

Starke added 15 rebounds to his game-high scoring output for EAC. He shot 27-33 from the field. James finished with 27 points and seven assists. Chris Pruitt had 15 points and Gill 12 to finish out the double-digit scorers for the Monsters. Ellisor led the Gauchos with 25 points.

Next up for EAC (12-9 overall, 6-7 ACCAC) is a game at Central Arizona, who currently holds the final Division I playoff spot in the ACCAC. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.