The Saddleback men's basketball team picked up a 91-58 win over Orange Coast College on Sunday on the final day of the Palomar College Tournament. The Gauchos erased a four-game losing streak with the win heading into the Riverside Tournament next weekend.
Saddleback had a great start to the season, opening up 4-0 and looking like a championship caliber team. The wheels then came off the bus when they took a trip to Utah, losing twice before coming home to lose two more times in the first two games of the Palomar Tournament. Saddleback righted the ship on Sunday, blowing out an Orange Coast program that captured the Orange Empire Conference title a season ago.
Saddleback and Orange Coast were fairly close through the first 20 minutes, with the Gauchos heading to the locker room with a 45-37 lead. The second half was a different story as the Gauchos caught fire and blew out the Pirates, outscoring OCC 46-21 over the final frame.
The inside game of Shawn Stith, Dillon Waikle and Steven Wyman were the difference as the Pirates had no answers inside. The three combined for 23 points, making 8-of-11 shots from the field over the final 20 minutes. In addition, the Gaucho defense clamped down on the Pirates as Orange Coast made just 1-of-10 from the outside while shooting just 21% from the field.
Stith finished with a game-high 19 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field. The Gaucho guards were also great at picking up the loose garbage, as Captain Whitlock (7) Kwan Clements (6) and Sean Birk (5) combined for 18 rebounds.
Saddleback is now 5-4 on the season heading into the Riverside City College Tournament next week. The Gauchos will open the tournament next Wednesday against East Los Angeles College at 2:00 PM.