The Saddleback men's basketball team improved to 23-2 on Friday night with a 70-53 win at Cypress College. The Gauchos looked rusty at times after a week off, but managed to pull away from the Chargers.
Saddleback got out of the gate quickly, opening up a 22-6 lead just 7.5 minutes into the game. Cypress would chip away at the lead, cutting it to 34-25 at the intermission. Collin Host had a big first half, making all five shots from the field in scoring 12 first-half points.
Cypress had the momentum to start the second half, scoring five straight points in narrowing the lead to four. For Charger fans, however, it would be as close as they would get as Saddleback stretched the lead throughout the second half, leading by as many as 21 just over the midway point after a 24-7 run. Host again was the catalyst, scoring seven points during the run while the Chargers went 2-for-7 from the field with four turnovers.
Saddleback had too much size for Cypress, out-rebounding the Chargers 32-21 for the night. Conor Clifford and Andrew Bournes both had a team-high seven rebounds apiece as the Gauchos had an 11-4 advantage in 2nd chance points.
Saddleback also had a big advantage at the free throw line, getting to the charity stripe 28 times and making 20. Conversely, Cypress shot just 13 free throws for the game.
Host finished with a team-high 19 points on the night while Clifford had 12 and Jalen Hall had 11. Saddleback shot 56% from the field while making 6-of-12 from three-point range.
The win keeps Saddleback one game ahead of inter-district rival Irvine Valley College in the Orange Empire Conference standings. The Gauchos will try to hang on to that lead on Wednesday when it hosts third place Santa Ana College. Tip time is set for 5:00 PM.