The Saddleback men's basketball team improved to 4-1 in Orange Empire Conference play with an 82-55 win at Orange Coast College on Wednesday night in Costa Mesa. With the win, the Gauchos are now in sole possession of second place in the OEC.
Saddleback entered Wednesday's contest knowing they had a big size advantage inside with Shawn Stith facing a Pirate lineup with no player bigger than 6-foot-4. The 6-foot-8, 255-pound sophomore took advantage of the situation, scoring a game-high 16 points with nine rebounds in just 26 minutes of work.
When Smith wasn't dominating inside, the guard quartet of Kwan Clements, Captain Whitlock, Sean Birk and Nik Lipovic were making the Pirates pay from the outside. The foursome finished with a combined 40 points, making 5-of-12 shots from beyond the arc as the Gauchos built up a big lead in the second half.
Saddleback stretched out the lead to as much as 34 points down the stretch before taking their foot off the gas pedal in the final minutes. The Gauchos held a sizeable advantage on the glass, outrebounding Orange Coast 40-28 for the night.
Saddleback is now 13-8 overall and 4-1 in Orange Empire Conference play following the win. The Gauchos now sit alone in second place in the OEC, one half game behind Fullerton College. Saddleback will look to keep pace next Wednesday when they travel to Santa Ana College for a 5:00 PM game with the Dons.