The Saddleback men's basketball team opened the Orange Empire Conference schedule with a 63-49 win over Irvine Valley College on Friday night in the Saddleback Gymnasium. The Gauchos dialed up the defense to move above .500 overall, outscoring IVC 13-0 over the final seven minutes.
Saddleback and Irvine Valley were locked in a close battle as the Gauchos held a 50-49 lead with seven minutes remaining when things went completely south for the Lasers. IVC failed to score a point over the final seven minutes as Saddleback improved to 9-8 overall and 1-0 in Orange Empire Conference play.
Saddleback had a 34-27 at half time after J.J. Overton scored 13 first-half points and the Gauchos held an 18-11 advantage on the glass. Overton wasn't finished, scoring another 11 in the second half for a season-high 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field.
Overton had some solid help from Colin Ferrier off the bench. The sophomore from Santa Margarita was 3-of-4 from beyond the arc in scoring a season-high 13 points for the night. Shawn Stith finished with a team-high 10 rebounds as Saddleback held a 35-18 advantage on the glass.
IVC kept the game close by making a number of shots from three-point range. The Lasers were 10-for-21 on the night, with Daniel Hernandez scoring a team-high 16 points on 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc.
Saddleback (9-8, 1-0) will play again next Wednesday when they travel to Fullerton College to take on the Hornets (13-4, 2-0). Game time is scheduled for 5:00 PM.