The Saddleback men's basketball team opened the 20th annual Bill Brummel Classic with an 88-50 win over MiraCosta College on Thursday night in the Saddleback Gymnasium. The Gauchos will play College of the Canyons on Friday night in the tournament semifinals.
Saddleback hadn't played a game in eight days heading into Thursday's opener and was looking to get out a funk that has seen them drop four of their last five games. The Gauchos got rid of the funk in a hurry, jumping out to a big lead and dominating from start to finish.
Saddleback's defense was stifling in the opening half as the Gauchos took a 46-16 into the locker room at the half. MiraCosta couldn't buy a basket, scoring just four points over the first 12+ minutes while Saddleback built a 31-4 lead. The Spartans finished 4-of-25 (16%) for the half while the Gauchos were 17-of-25 (68%). Saddleback had nine points from Reggie Varner and Shawn Stith in the opening 20 minutes while Isaiah Brooks added eight points off the bench.
Saddleback picked up where it left off in the second half, extending the lead to 61-26 when Stith (pictured) jumped outside and dropped a three pointer from the corner. The 6-foot-7 big man from the Bay Area caught nothing but net right in front of his teammates on the bench. Soon thereafter he would exit to the bench for a birds-eye view of the blowout, finishing with a team-high 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
Saddleback was blazing from the outside all night long, finishing 12-of-24 from downtown. The bench exploded with Lucas Araujo buried a shot from beyond the arc as the lead surged to 84-38 with 3:42 remaining.
Saddlebac k had too much inside for MiraCosta, outrebounding the Spartans 47-29 for the night. Anthony Naimie was everywhere for the Gauchos, picking up a season-high 16 boards for the night.
Saddleback will face Canyons at 5:00 PM on Friday night in the gymnasium in the tournament semifinals. The other semifinal will have San Diego City College against Cuesta College at 7:00 PM.
Cuesta 74, Long Beach City 63
San Diego City 82, Irvine Valley 80
Canyons 82, Los Angeles Trade Tech 71
Saddleback 88, MiraCosta 50