The Saddleback men's basketball team picked up a big road win with an 84-75 win at Santiago Canyon on Tuesday night in Orange. With the win, the Gauchos move back into a tie for first place in the Orange Empire Conference.
With Fullerton sitting idle on Tuesday night, Saddleback had an opportunity to catch the Hornets in the standings with a win on the road at Santiago Canyon. The Gauchos brought their "A" game to SCC, leading for 19 minutes in the opening half and 18 minutes in the second.
Saddleback grabbed a 43-32 lead at the intermission despite starting power forward Shawn Stith missing the majority of the half in early foul trouble. The Gauchos relied on the trio of J.J. Overton, Sean Birk and Arash Poorsina to pick up the slack, as the threesome had 31 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in the opening 20 minutes.
Santiago Canyon rallied in the second half as Saddleback came out cold, scoring just six points over the first seven minutes. The Hawks evened the score at 52-52 with 11:54 remaining in the game and then briefly took the lead midway through the half at 59-57 and 61-59 before the Gauchos dug in defensively. Saddleback didn't allow a point for the next 3.5 minutes while outscoring Santiago Canyon 11-0 to take a 70-61 lead with 5:04 remaining in the game. Overton was a big catalyst, scoring seven straight points during the run as the Gauchos raced past the Hawks. He would make another jumper to ice the game at the 1:43 mark to give Saddleback a 77-68 lead.
Overton finished with a game-high 24 points, making 8-of-12 from the field and 8-of-10 from the free throw line. The Gauchos enjoyed another solid night from the outside, making 7-of-13 shots from beyond the arc. Sean Birk and Tyler O'Donnell both made 3-of-4 from downtown on the night as five Gauchos scored in double-figures.
Saddleback is now 17-8 overall and 8-1 in Orange Empire Conference play with three games remaining on the schedule. The Gauchos will try to keep pace on Thursday night when they host Orange Coast College. The Gauchos are Pirates are set to tip off at 5:00 PM in the Saddleback Gymnasium.