The Saddleback men's basketball team opened the season with a 78-62 win against San Diego Mesa College on Saturday in the Saddleback Gymnasium. Keegan Cummins led the Gauchos with 26 points.
Saddleback took a 4-2 lead after Cummins had a second straight layup with 17:51 remaining in the opening half. The Gauchos would never relinquish the lead, cruising to an opening-day win.
Cummins would have 20 points in the opening half of play as Saddleback carried a 38-28 lead into the locker rooms. The Gauchos had an 18-12 advantage on the glass in the opening half, which was something that would carry on through the second half as Mesa had no answer for the Gaucho big men. Saddleback would finish with a 48-29 advantage on the glass.
Saddleback had a 12 point lead with just over 13 minutes remaining when San Diego Mesa had a little run to make things interesting. The Olympians cut the lead to 52-46 when both teams went silent, failing to score a point for a 2:39 span. The Gauchos finally broke through with consecutive buckets from Tristan Williams and Dillon Waikle to push the lead back to double-digits.
Saddleback received a big second half from Captain Whitlock, who scored 15 in the second frame to finish with 22 points, 12 rebounds and three assists. Whitlock's layup with 6:14 remaining gave the Gauchos a 15-point lead, taking the life out of the Olympians.
Cummins finished with a team-high 26 points while collecting 12 rebounds of his own. He finished 12-of-14 from the field while finishing with a pair of blocks in the defensive end.
Saddleback will play again in the San Diego City College Tournament next weekend when they open with Barstow College on Friday at 1:00 PM.