The Saddleback men's basketball team ran its winning streak to 14 games on Friday with a 95-66 win over Santa Ana College in Santa Ana. The Gauchos will now face Fullerton next Wednesday with first place on the line in conference play.
Saddleback has seen Fullerton in their rear-view window for a couple of weeks now, but had some housecleaning to take care of on Friday against Santa Ana before looking forward to next Wednesday's matchup in Fullerton. The Gauchos wasted no time in mopping up the Dons as they never trailed in the game. After Breaon Brady opened the game with a lay-in, Jake Hawes buried a three-pointer for a 5-2 lead with 18:43 remaining in the half and the Gauchos were off and running. The long-range jumper was the start of an 11-2 run for Saddleback, as Hawes drilled another for a 13-4 lead with 15:44 remaining.
Later in the half Saddleback started to show its depth as Kevin Miller came off the bench to drain two of his own from beyond the arc for a 25-11 lead. Reggie Varner also got into the action with five straight points as the Gaucho lead grew to 30-11. Josh Feitl followed with a lay-in as Saddleback built the lead to 32-11 with just over nine minutes remaining in the half. Saddleback wasn't finished as Hawes re-entered and quickly scored four more as the Gaucho lead grew insurmountable at 38-18. Hawes would finish the half with 14 points after playing just six minutes on Wednesday in a win over Cypress.
Saddleback led 42-26 at the end of the half and quickly turned up the pressure to start the second 20 minutes. Brady had a layup followed by a jumper from Colin Ferrier as the lead was back to 21 at 47-26 with 18:26 remaining. It gave the Gauchos a great opportunity to get some minutes from the bench, who steered the bus the rest of the way. Miller had a big second half with 12 points while Ferrier had 14. The lead grew to 29 after a Ferrier three-point play with 14:45 remaining. Miller's three-pointer with 9:23 on the clock made the lead 76-43 with 9:23 remaining and then Noah Rasheed got into the action with a long-range jumper as the Saddleback lead expanded to 36. Later in the half, Chance Kalaugher made a layup and Saddleback had an 81-43 advantage as the Gauchos finished with a 41-19 advantage off the bench.
Saddleback finished with five players in double-figures, with Miller leading the way with 18 points. The sophomore was 4-for-4 from beyond the arc as Saddleback was unstoppable from long range, making 16-of-26 for the night.
Saddleback is now 19-2 overall and 5-0 in Orange Empire Conference play following the win. The Gauchos will now travel to Fullerton College to face the Hornets (16-5, 5-0) on Wednesday night with first place on the line. Tip time is scheduled for 7:00 PM.