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Gauchos stay close with latest win

Gauchos stay close with latest win

The Saddleback men's basketball team improved to 16-8 overall and 9-3 in Orange Empire Conference play with a 69-59 win against Orange Coast College on Wednesday night inside the Saddleback gymnasium.  With the win, the Gauchos remain in the hunt in the OEC.

Saddleback got off to a tough start as the Pirates scored the first six points of the game while the Gauchos failed to score over the first three minutes.  Saddleback finally answered with a three-pointer from Nik Lipovic, which quickly changed the momentum.  The Gauchos would eventually have a 15-2 run in taking a 15-8 lead, and never looked back.  Saddleback would build the lead to 45-35 heading into the locker room as Lipovic had 11 first-half points while the Gauchos build a 19-13 lead in rebounds.

Saddleback never got into a rhythm in the second half as both teams turned the ball over a number of times.  The Gauchos extended the lead to 13 points at 50-37 after Andre Scott made a layup.  They would eventual have a 14-point lead with under 10 minutes remaining, which proved to be too much for an Orange Coast team that entered with only three wins on the season.

George Maslennikov finished with a team-high 16 points, making 5-of-7 shots from the field while getting to the free throw line with regularity.  Maslennikov also had a team-high nine rebounds as the Gauchos held a 42-31 advantage on the glass for the night. 

Saddleback is now two games behind Riverside City College in the OEC standings and 1.5 games back of Santiago Canyon College with four games remaining in the regular season.

Saddleback will play against when they travel to Santa Ana College on Friday night.  The Gauchos and Dons are scheduled to tip off at 7:00 PM in Santa Ana.