Gauchos too much for Spartans in semifinals

Shorts was named First Team All-OEC Saturday
Shorts was named First Team All-OEC Saturday

The Saddleback men's basketball team advanced to the finals of the Bill Brummel Classic with an 87-54 win over MiraCosta College on Friday at the gymnasium.  The Gauchos will play rival Irvine Valley College in the finals.

Saddleback fell behind early as they came out cold from the field in falling behind 12-9 with 10:41 remaining in the half.  The cold streak wouldn't last long as the Gauchos found their stroke and ran away and hid.  The exclamation point was a three-pointer at the buzzer by T.J. Shorts from 35-feet out for a 37-22 lead at the half.

Saddleback didn't take its foot off the gas pedal, scoring nine of the first 11 points in the second half for a 48-24 lead.  It grew to 51-26 when Jake Hawes buried a three-pointer with 15:10 remaining in the game.  Hawes again buried a three with 15:01 left to up the score to 56-28 before the Gauchos made a steal in the defensive end and threw the ball up court to a wide open Shorts for a 58-28 lead.  Hawes wasn't finished, draining another from the corner with just under 13 minutes remaining for a 61-30 lead. 

Saddleback emptied the bench over the final seven minutes.  Chance Kalaugher took the opportunity to score 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting in the final stretch.  The bench erupted with Ayman Farah nailed a three pointer with 4:20 remaining for a 77-45 lead.

Shorts finished with a team-high 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, also finishing with a game-high nine assists.  Hawes had 13 points off the bench as Saddleback's bench had 52 points for the night.

Saddleback will play Irvine Valley in the finals after the Lasers stunned Mt. San Jacinto College, 66-57.  Tip time for the championship game is 4:00 PM.