COSTA MESA, Calif. – What started off in a slow trudge forward on both sides of the court ended in a beautiful victory for the Lions. Vanguard (13-4) won out over Shepherd University (3-16) with a score of 92-48. The Lions, fresh off of a road trip, were led by Malachi Hoosein (JR/Norwalk, CA), who racked up 17 points overall and handed out eight assists. Five other Lions hit double digits before the clock ran out.
"I was proud of the way our guys competed tonight," head coach Rhett Soliday stated. "We had a number of guys step up and raise their level of play in preparation for a good ACU team coming in to The Pit on Saturday."
The Lions took the lead within the first minute with a three pointer sunk by Shacquille Dawkins (FR/Santa Clarita, CA), but the Thundering Herd pushed back. The Lions fought neck and neck for the first five minutes, giving up a tie at one point, but the Lions came back strong and fought to maintain the lead throughout the rest of the half. Zach Allmon (SR/San Luis Obispo, CA) was a determining factor in that lead, giving Vanguard 10 points in the first half. Vanguard nabbed 30 points in the paint, 13 of which were scored off of turnovers. Even with a slow start, the Blue and Gold ended the first half with a 13 point lead.
In the second half, the Pride was back with a vengeance. The slow start was a distant memory as the Lions took advantage of Shepherd University's 25 turnovers, 18 of which were forced by steals. The Lions' defense was on top of the game tonight, taking 34 defensive rebounds, led by Hoosein with nine and Jamaal Lee (JR/Long Beach, CA) with eight. The Blue and Gold kept up the pace with 40 points scored off the bench including 10 from Kwinn Hanson (SR/Spokane, WA) and 12 from Aubrey Myers, Jr. (SR/Newport News, VA) who was a perfect 5-5 from the field. Fans were all smiles when the final buzzer sounded and the Blue and Gold took a 44 point victory.
Coach Soliday went on to say, "I thought it was great to see both Kwinn and Aubrey have breakout games offensively and it was awesome to see Billy Keller (JR/Huntington Beach, CA) back on the court after a long time missed due to injury. I think if we continue to gel together and tighten up our execution, we can be as tough as anyone in the conference."
Next Game: Saturday, January 14th against. Arizona Christian at 4:00 p.m.