Saddleback’s size towers the Mesa Olympians, leading to their season-opening win at home.
(Frank Rocha/Gaucho Men’s Basketball)
The Gaucho men’s basketball team commanded a 78-62 victory against the San Diego Mesa Olympians for their home-opener and first game in the Orange County Empire Conference of the 2019-2020 season on Nov. 2 at Saddleback College.
The Gaucho men’s basketball team is coming off a confusing conclusion to being co-champions of the Orange Empire Conference last year for the 2018-2019 season. The team was absent from the OEC 2018-2019 postseason after obtaining the co-championship and had to disqualify all of the men’s basketball games from the Gauchos 2017-2018 season. Saddleback College and the OEC have yet to comment on their absence and disqualification to the Lariat.
Something that is not confusing, San Diego Mesa College’s physical presence, was minuscule compared to the towering Gauchos. An excellent example of Jameel Pratt 6’9”, who is the Olympian’s most significant player and also the center. Saddleback has four team players who are above Pratt’s height; the science is there. The Gauchos outmanned the Mesa Olympians, scoring an aggressive, 50 points in the paint. And were an immovable force of the glass, out rebounding the Olympians 48-29.
The stars for the afternoon were sophomore’s Keegan Cummins and Captain Whitlock, who both finished with double-doubles on their season opener. Both combined for 24 rebounds, and an astounding 48 points, which led the Gauchos to their victory. Coach Andy Ground can also be proud of the team for shooting 50% in field goal range.
Looking at the defense, the Gauchos made 16 points off of 2nd chance plays, and 13 points off 9 Olympian turnovers for the afternoon. Saddleback’s big men looked to dominate the glass at both ends and suffocated the Olympians with their large frames.
The Gauchos will try to improve for their 11 turnovers and a questionable 5-19 from the three-point line. But other than that, the Gauchos look more ready than ever. I am looking forward to seeing more in the paint, hard-nose basketball from this team in the future.
Saddleback looks to add another OEC championship this year, in hopes of there 8th OEC title in 12 years, if the Gauchos can keep their smothering defense, offensive onslaught and that their 2019-2020 season will not mysteriously disappear and have no chance of a playoff run.
The Gauchos will return in the San Diego City Tournament this weekend, Nov. 8-10, against the Barstow Viking’s, the Citrus Owls, and then face-off against host the San Diego City Knights.