The Saddleback men's basketball team sits in a tie for first place in the Orange Empire Conference after an 83-66 win at Santa Ana College on Wednesday night in Santa Ana. The Gauchos are tied with Fullerton College with six games remaining on the schedule.
Saddleback ran its winning streak to three games on Wednesday and did it with some long-range shooting. Tyler O'Donnell lit up the Dons for 24 points, coming off the bench to make 6-of-12 from three-point range. It was O'Donnell's biggest game of the season and part of a Gaucho offense that shot 50% from long range. Joining O'Donnell in the downtown barrage was Sean Birk, who made 3-of-4 from beyond the arc as Saddleback shot 60.4% from the field while outrebounding Santa Ana 40-33.
Saddleback had a 40-33 lead at the intermission, largely in part to O'Donnell making 4-of-6 in the opening half. In addition, Shawn Stith had his way inside, making 4-of-6 shots while collecting five rebounds.
Saddleback extended the lead to 10 midway through the second half when they held Santa Ana to two points over a 2.5 minute stretch in taking a 49-39 lead with just over 14 minutes remaining. The Dons whittled the lead down to 66-61 with 6:04 remaining when the Gauchos went on a run, putting the game out of reach. Saddleback went on an 11-1 run as Santa Ana couldn't get in a stop in the defensive end. The Gauchos had four layups in a matter of 1:15, including a three-point play by J.J. Overton.
Overton finished with 20 points while Stith had 19 points and seven rebounds. Arash Poorsina tied a season-high in finishing with a game-high 12 rebounds.
Saddleback is now 14-8 overall and 5-1 in Orange Empire Conference play following the win. The Gauchos are tied atop the OEC standings with Fullerton College, who was a 93-53 winner against Orange Coast College on Wednesday.
Saddleback will look to continue its winning streak on Friday night when it hosts Cypress College in the Saddleback Gymnasium. Game time is scheduled for 5:00 PM.