The Bakersfield College men’s basketball team shook off a slow start and cruised to its sixth straight victory, pulling away for a 101-54 victory over Oxnard as part of the Western State Classic at the Gil Bishop Sports Center on Saturday afternoon.
Saintfilson Vincent, a freshman from Miami, led the way with a team-high 18 points, and Bakersfield High grad Tyrell Coleman added 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists to lead the Renegades (12-2) past a pesky Condors (1-11) squad, which hung tough the first 12 minutes of the game.
“I was proud of our guys and we came and we did what we needed to do,” said BC coach Rich Hughes, whose team — ranked 30th in the state — opens Western State Conference South play on Wednesday at 11th-ranked Santa Monica City. “Nothing against who we play, but we came out and we dominated. That’s what we’re going to need to do.
“Next week the competition is going to be a lot better and we have to come out and play with intensity and play hard. If we do those things and take care of the ball, we have a chance.”
Trailing 30-25 with 8:45 left in the first half, BC took control of the game, closing the half with a 22-2 run that was capped by a driving layup by Vince Demelio.
“We’ve had moments like that where we just don’t come ready to play,” said Hughes, whose team defeated Santa Barbara 106-52 in Friday night’s tournament opener. “We knew what they do, which is shoot a lot of 3s, and we weren’t really mentally ready.”
Vincent scored six points during the Renegades’ first-half run, including five straight points that gave his team its first lead of the game at 31-30. Liberty graduate Javier Gallardo, who finished with 13 points and seven rebounds, scored back to back baskets to build the lead to 41-32 with 2:15 left in the opening half. Michael Guillory had nine points, six rebounds and four assists for BC, which led 47-32 at the break.
“Fortunately for us, we started to get defensive stops and that got us in the game,” Hughes said. “It got us into transition where we could score a lot easier than in the half court. So I was proud of our guys to kind of weather the storm and get back into it defensively.”
Bakersfield continued to pour it on in the second half, even as Hughes began to empty his bench. The lead reached 30 points on a pair of free throws by Damelio with 9:34 left in the game, and extended to 41 on back-to-back inside baskets by Blake van Uden.
“It was just our pressure,” said Hughes of his team’s turnaround. “We get into guys and we’re better on our scout. We knew who we couldn’t leave open, we knew who we could, and we were better at securing the rebound. When teams that shoot a lot of those 3s, we were rebounding and getting out in transition which was the difference for us getting back into the game.”