The Saddleback men's basketball team had a big second half in beating inter-district rival Irvine Valley College, 65-51, on Wednesday night in the Saddleback Gymnasium. Breaon Brady scored 19 points as Saddleback won its 1,000th game in the history of the program.
Saddleback and Irvine Valley were close through the first 20 minutes, with Saddleback taking a lead down the stretch. Brady had a big first half, leading the Gauchos with 10 points and four rebounds against an IVC squad that had no answer inside for the 6-foot-8 forward from Akron, Ohio.
The second half had a different feeling as Saddleback cooked up the pressure on defense. Irvine Valley couldn't buy a basket as the Gaucho lead went from three to 12 in a matter of minutes. The Lasers finished with 25 points in the second frame, making just 5-of-17 shots for the half.
Saddleback's lead grew to 20 midway through the half, but IVC made the score look respectable down the stretch. The Lasers got to the line 19 times in the second half, even taking advantage of a Gaucho technical foul when Josh Mishler was whistled for chirping at the officials.
Jalen Hall had a solid second half off the bench for Saddleback. Hall had 12 points for the game, finishing with eight points and three rebounds in nine minutes in the second half.
Saddleback improved to 19-1 overall and 4-0 in Orange Empire Conference play with the win. The Gauchos remain tied with Fullerton, who defeated Santa Ana 91-57.
Saddleback and Fullerton will square off on Friday night in Fullerton. Tip time is set for 5:00 PM.