The Saddleback men's basketball pulled off a second straight stunner with a 53-52 win in overtime at Cypress College on Friday night in Cypress. The Gauchos scored the go-ahead basket with one second remaining on the clock in turning back the upset-minded Chargers.
Saddleback was coming off one of the great wins on Wednesday night when they beat Fullerton College at the buzzer on a three-pointer from Nik Lipovic. This time it was Dillon Waikle who pulled off the magic, scoring from down low with one second remaining on the clock as the Gauchos won their third straight game.
Saddleback sprinted out to a big lead, taking a 13-1 lead over the first 8.5 minutes of the game. The Gauchos held the Chargers to 0-for-10 shooting from the field to start the game as Cypress was 0-for-7 from three-point range.
Cypress clawed its way back into the game as Saddleback had a cold spell of their own. The Chargers went on an 11-2 run, closing the gap to 15-12 with under six minutes remaining in the half. Saddleback and Cypress would finish the half dead even at 27-27, with David Dial leading the Gauchos with seven points.
Saddleback's cold spell would spill over into the second half as Cypress took a lead and extended it to seven points with just 5:56 remaining in the game. The Gauchos were just 3-of-14 to start the second half while committing eight turnovers during the dry spell.
Saddleback would finally find its stride in the final three minutes. Trailing 48-42, the Gauchos started going to the basket and drawing fouls. Tristan Williams cut the lead to one with 1:26 remaining when he scored and converted a three-point play from the free throw line. Following a miss from Cypress, Williams briefly gave the Gauchos the lead at 49-48 when he scored on a layup with 28 seconds remaining. Cypress returned the favor by getting to the free throw line with 13 seconds remaining, but Sebastien Castro was only able to make 1-of-2 free throws as the two teams finished regulation tied at 49-49.
Cypress scored the first three points of overtime after Jaylan Slaughter converted 1-of-2 free throws and Castro scored on a layup for a 52-49 lead. The Gauchos finally answered when David Dial was fouled while shooting and made both of his free throws to cut the Cypress lead to 52-51.
Cypress had two chances to ice the game in the final minute, but the final opportunity was blocked by Waikle. The 6-foot-11 sophomore would then drive to the hole and score in the final seconds as the Gauchos pulled off a second straight stunner in conference play.
Dial led Saddleback with a team-high 14 points while Williams finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. Captain Whitlock led the Gauchos with 11 rebounds as Saddleback held a 45-36 advantage on the glass.
Saddleback now stands at 14-7 overall and 7-2 in Orange Empire Conference play following the win. The Gauchos will try to make it four straight wins on Wednesday night when they host Golden West College. Tip time is scheduled for 7:00 PM inside the Saddleback gymnasium.