Big Crowd See AVC Loses by Two to #1 Saddleback

Posted: November 13, 2016 in AVC Men's Basketball, AVC Men's BB 2016-17, Pre-Conference

AVC’s comeback falls short

By: Alex Vejar

LANCASETER – The Antelope Valley College men’s basketball team almost staged a comeback after trailing 16-0, but lost its home opener, 82-80, to the Saddleback Guachos on Saturday night.

Marauders sophomore guard Cory Dollarhide led the team with 25 points on 7-of-10 shooting with four 3-pointers. Freshman forward Jailen Gill added 23 points and eight rebounds.

"I think we showed a lot of character and a lot of guts tonight," AV College head coach John Taylor said. "We easily could’ve lost that game by 30."

The Marauders (1-3) gave up 16 straight points to start the first half. AVC scored its first basket on a 3-pointer by Dollarhide with 15:38 left in the first half.

AV College trailed 18-3 early, but went on a run and closed the deficit to 11 after freshman guard D’Mauria Jones drove to the basket, spun off his man and converted up-and-under layup.

The Marauders cut the deficit to single digits when Gill made a jump hook with 4:55 left in the first half.

Jones two free throws cut Saddleback’s lead to eight, but Gauchos freshman guard Jake Hawes drained a 3-pointer to give Saddleback a 34-23 lead.

Then Dollarhide made another 3-pointer to bring AV College’s deficit back to eight.

Saddleback sophomore guard T.J. Shorts drove down the middle of the lane, banked in a shot and got fouled. His free throw gave the Gauchos a 37-26 lead with 2:19 left in the first half.

In the final minute of the half, Dollarhide made another 3-pointer, which gave Saddleback only a 38-31 lead with 25 seconds left.

Shorts’ free throw with 5.4 seconds left gave the Gaucho’s a 39-31 lead at halftime.

Early in the second half, AV College capitalized on a fast-break opportunity when sophomore guard Reggie Byers threw a lob to Gill for a dunk. The Marauders then trailed by only seven 44-37.

The Gauchos built a 51-41 lead. But AV College scored eight straight points to make things interesting.

Marauders freshman guard Osinachi Nwachukwu ran pick-and-roll with sophomore center Antone Warren, split two defenders and converted a layup despite getting fouled.

Saddleback turned the ball over, and Nwachukwu dunked the ball with authority to make the Gauchos’ lead only 51-47. On AV College’s next possession, Nwachukwu received the ball in the middle of Saddleback’s zone defense, spun and scored to pull the Marauders within two and cap and 8-0 run.

The Gauchos made an 10-2 run of its own, taking a 5951 lead. The Marauders again closed to within two points, 61-59, after two free throws by sophomore point guard Charles Hall.

The Marauders will play in the San Bernadino Valley Tournament on Nov. 18.

Saddleback gained some separation after 9-2 run capped by Shorts making a jumper, giving the Gauchos a 76-66 lead. The Marauders scored five straight points, but Saddleback pulled away again and took an 80-71 lead with 35.8 seconds to play.

Jones made a 3-pointer with 14 seconds left to cut AV College’s deficit to three, but time ran out on the Marauders.

"It’s unfortunate we lost," Taylor said, "but I think it gives us a valuable lesson. If we take it that way, I think we’ll be in good shape."

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