The Saddleback men's basketball team won its second straight game with a 56-52 win against Santa Ana College on Friday night in the Saddleback gymnasium. Sophomore Nik Lipovic guided the way with 21 points.
Saddleback trailed for just over a minute for the entire game, but found themselves in a dog fight in the final minutes. The Gauchos had as much as a 14-point lead nearing the midway point of the second half when Santa Ana got hot to make the game close. The Dons closed to within two with 38 seconds remaining when Jalani Horn made a jumper to close the gap to 54-52. Saddleback closed out the game when Lipovic made two free throws with 13 seconds remaining for a four point win.
Lipovic made 5-of-9 shots from beyond the arc in finishing with a team-high 21 points for the night. He finished 7-of-11 from the field on a night when the rest of the team couldn't buy a basket. The rest of the Gauchos were just 13-of-40 from the field as the defense clamped down on the Dons to secure the win.
Santa Ana was ice cold over the first 28 minutes of the game. Santa Ana was 0-for-11 from the field from long range heading into the stretch when they finally caught fire to dig into the lead. Horn finished with a game-high 25 points for the Dons.
Saddleback is now 11-6 overall and 4-1 in Orange Empire Conference play. The Gauchos remain in fourth place in OEC play as Riverside improved to 5-0 while Fullerton and Santiago Canyon both sit at 4-0 in conference play.
Saddleback will try for a third straight win in conference play next Wednesday when they travel to Riverside. The Gauchos and Tigers are scheduled to tip off at 5:00 PM.