COSTA MESA, Calif. – What a difference a day makes. Less than 24 hours after their third loss in a row, the Lions (11-3) came back with incredible energy and heart to take down a very talented and tough team from the University of Saskatchewan (5-8) by a score of 89-72. Vanguard, led offensively by Zach Allmon (SR/San Luis Obispo, CA), forced the Huskies into 26 turnovers which produced 34 points for the Pride.
"Those last three games were really tough on us, but tonight we were able take what we learned from them and beat a GSAC level team," Allmon stated after emerging from the winning locker room. "Everyone stepped up and played a vital role in tonight's win."
The Blue and Gold only trailed for two possessions of the game. Saskatchewan took the first points of the game, but soon the Lions had built a six-point advantage. Vanguard went down 13-12 with just under 13 minutes left to go, but from that point everything tilted the way of the Pride. A pair of successful shots from the charity stripe by Shacquille Dawkins (FR/Santa Clarita, CA) pushed the advantage to double-digits and they posted a 14-point edge during the first 20 minutes of play. The Lions entered the intermission with a 47-36 advantage, scoring nine points off the fast break and 15 more points off turnovers.
During the second half, Vanguard picked up the energy more and did not allow the Huskies to offer much resistance. The lead built higher thanks to three successful shots from the free throw line, after Brandon Hood (JR/Gardena, CA) was fouled in the corner while attempting a shot from downtown. Jamaal Lee (JR/Long Beach, CA)'s spinning jumped in the paint gave the Blue and Gold their first lead of 20 points, followed by a lay in from Allmon which pushed it to a game-high 22-point advantage.
By the final horn, Vanguard left The Pit with a 17-point victory. Allmon scored a game-high 23 points to go along with three steals and six rebounds. Malachi Hoosein (JR/Norwalk, CA) dropped in 19 points – thanks to 5-9 from behind the arc – and also chimed in with three thefts. Shaquille rounded out the scoring trio for the Lions with 18 points and a contest high four steals. Three Huskies found their way into double figures highlighted by 22 points from Shane Osayande.
Allmon later said, "Tonight's win was really important heading into conference play because we got a taste of how we need to play to be successful in the GSAC."
Next Game: January 5th at William Jessup at 7:30 p.m.