Saddleback College Men’s basketball team advances to second round of Bill Brummell Classic

Gauchos defeat MiraCosta in opening round of Bill Brummel Classic (Lariat Staff)

Gauchos defeat MiraCosta in opening round of Bill Brummel Classic (Lariat Staff)

Saddleback College men’s basketball team began the 20th annual Bill Brummel Classic with a win over MiraCosta College Thursday night at the Saddleback Gymnasium.

After losing four out of their last five games, Saddleback had a sense of urgency getting the ball in the hoop as they finished with the largest margin of victory out of the four opening round matchups Thursday night.

From tip off, the Gauchos took control with an early 46-16 lead at halftime. With head coach Andy Ground leading the way, Saddleback understood that offense was only half the battle, as the Gauchos threw their effort behind defending their hoop, only allowing the MiraCosta Spartans four points within the first 12 minutes of the game. Saddleback shot 68 percent from the field, knocking down 17 of their 25 first half attempts, while the Spartans finished 4 of 25 (16 percent). The numbers spoke for themselves with Saddleback finishing the game with more assists, points off turnovers, second chance points and points off the bench than MiraCosta.

Key players for the Gauchos included Shawn Stith and Anthony Naimie. Naimie, the 6-foot-8 sophomore grabbed a season-high 16 rebounds, being a major contributor to the Gauchos success crashing the boards, out-rebounding the Spartans 47-29. Shawn Stith, the freshman forward led Saddleback in scoring with 15 points, using his 6-foot-7, 240 lb. frame to create an offensive presence in the paint, along with knocking down a corner three.

Saddleback’s shooting was consistent all night, making half of their 24 attempts from behind the three point line. That, along with MiraCosta’s struggles, went hand in hand with Saddleback’s 84-38 lead with 3:42 remaining.

Looking forward, Saddleback will continue to the next round of the Bill Brummell Classic with a semi-finals matchup against the College of Canyons at 5 o’clock, Friday night, in the Saddleback Gymnasium.