The Saddleback men's basketball team defeated Citrus College on Thursday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the 43rd Annual Riverside City College Holiday Tournament, 78-52. The Gauchos opened up a big lead in the first half and never looked back in advancing to the semifinals on Friday.
Saddleback used the same formula they used on Wednesday, dominating inside and forcing Citrus into a number of bad shots. Conor Clifford put together his second straight double-double, scoring 20 points with 10 rebounds while the stifling defense held the Owls to 22% shooting. The Gauchos outscored Citrus 52-8 in the paint while the defense allowed zero points off of fast break.
Clifford (left) nearly outscored Citrus by himself in the first half, accounting for 16 points as Saddleback opened up a 37-20 lead at the intermission. He was 8-for-11 from the field in the opening frame while Citrus made only 4-of-26 shots.
Saddleback also made a handful of improvements from the opener on Wednesday, burying 16-of-19 from the free throw line and dishing out 21 assists. It was also a chance for a new star to emerge as Daniel Young came off the bench to score 10 points with six rebounds in just 10 minutes of play.
"The guys played with some intensity today," head coach Andy Ground said. "However, if we don't show up tomorrow it won't mean much. We need to start doing it consistently if we want to play for something bigger down the road."
Saddleback (11-1) will take on the winner of Fullerton (2-7) and San Bernardino Valley (10-1), who was scheduled to play in the next quarterfinal on Thursday afternoon.