PHOENIX, Ariz. -- It was an exciting game in the Fultz Memorial Gymnasium Tuesday night, as the No. 6 Firestorm made a thrilling run in the second half to take down NCAA Div. III No.2-ranked Wooster College (OH), 62-60.
Jackson Helms would record the first bucket for the Firestorm, but Wooster's Xavier Brown would respond with a three giving them a 10 point lead at the 15:23 mark, 12-2.
The Scots finished the first half with a 7-2 run to take a 14 point edge going into the break, 40-26.
In the start of the second, Wooster increased its lead to 19 at the 15:09 mark, but in a two minutes span Arizona Christian would cut the deficit to 12 after a Martin Kim 3-pointer. Kim's three would ignite the crowd and give the Firestorm the extra momentum they needed to start their comeback. In fact, Arizona Christian would hold the Fighting Scots scoreless from 15:09 to 9:47 and would cut the deficit to six after a Rodney Hudson layup. Wooster would answer back after Doug Thorpe dropped a 3-pointer to push the lead back to nine, 53-44.
Talib Uqdah, who has been the leading scorer for the Firestorm was held scoreless in the first half, but managed to catch fire in the second knocking down a deep three ball to push Arizona Christian within five, 53-48. Mason Jones would deliver a monster block on the next possession against Wooster' Dan Fanelly and then find himself open in the corner to can a huge three bringing the Firestorm within two at the 7:19 mark.
Wooster wouldn't back down and found itself up by seven with five minutes left in regulation, but Arizona Christian would respond with three huge defensive stops and some key baskets from array of Firestorm players. Mateus Oliveira made a pretty move inside the paint to deliver the first tie of the game at the 3:10 mark. Arizona Christian finished the game on the charity stripe going 4-for-4 with Oliveira and Uqdah. Uqdah hit back to back free throws keeping the Firestorm undefeated and edging out the Fighting Scots, 62-60.
"I think our pressure wore them down as the game went on," mentioned Rutter. "They had a season high 15 turnovers and had a tough time making shots down the stretch. We executed very well late in the game. We are starting to see things and make some reads that we were missing a few weeks ago. It's exciting to see the improvement and to see guys step up and make big plays when we needed them."