The scouting report on the Vanguard men’s basketball team begins with the “arc enemy.” That’s a trio of veteran Lions guards who pride themselves on inflicting pain from distance.
And even though Golden State Athletic Conference visitor Biola knew it needed to focus on senior Preston Wynne, junior Chris Gorman and junior DeAngelo Jones on the perimeter, Vanguard’s long-range arsenal made sure Eagles’ hopes for victory didn’t last, well, long.
Wynne nailed five of his seven-three-point attempts in the first half and Jones was three for three from beyond the arc to help the hosts make nine of 12 from threesome in the opening 20 minutes.
In one first-half stretch of just less then seven minutes, the Lions made six field goals, all three-pointers.
After the first of Wynne’s six three-pointers on the night, No. 20-ranked Vanguard (15-2, 2-0 in conference) led, 9-0. By the time the Lions produced six straight field goals from beyond the arc, the advantage was 27-5.
Yet another Jones three-pointer put Vanguard up, 35-6 and when Wynne, who was fouled while making one three and converted a four-point play, connected again from threedom with 8:44 left in the half, the hosts were on top, 40-10, leaving a little more than 27 minutes of garbage time.
At halftime, Vanguard led, 48-26, with all but two of its points coming from the triumvirate of Wynne (16), Gorman (16) and Jones (14).
Jones wound up perfect on three three-point attempts, while Wynne sank six of 12 and senior reserve Tino Zaragosa connected on his only attempt from beyond the arc. Gorman was just one for four from threedom, but he drained nine of his 10 foul shots to produce 22 points.
Wynne led the winners with 23 points, while Jones finished with 16.
With the Eagles’ eyes on the perimeter, Keith Mason, a 6-foot-8 junior post, scored eight of the Lions’ first 10 points after intermission on his way to 10 points, nine rebounds and three assists.
Vanguard entered the game shooting just 32% from three-point range, but wound up 11 for 21 (52.4%) from beyond the arc against Biola. The Lions were only 17 for 38 inside the arc (44.7%).
“We shot it well,” Vanguard Coach Rhett Soliday said. “I think one thing we’ve continued to trust in is that we’re a good shooting team, even though our numbers this year haven’t shown it. Our percentages from three haven’t been good. But that has been a product of a few things: trying to find the right rotations and the right stuff to run for the right guys. I think we figured that out a little better after the Christmas break and the result has been we’ve been shooting the ball a lot better.”
It was the eighth straight victory for Vanguard, which is also 10-0 at home in The Pit, one of the tiniest, gyms in college basketball. But the home rooters among the 531 in attendance Saturday voiced their pleasure over having a team that just might be ready to contend for the GSAC title.
“This place is a pretty special college basketball environment,” Soliday said. “It’s not the best facility for practice, but when it comes to game time, I wouldn’t change a thing about this place. I love it. It’s pretty fun.”
Soliday was also buoyed by having his entire roster healthy for the first time this season and the lopsided win helped the hosts use 14 players.
Biola fell to 11-7, 1-1.
Golden State Athletic Conference
Vanguard 80, Biola 60
Biola – Murillo 15, Kurtz 12, Archer 7, Corsi 6, Zook 5, Bossio 5, Wittick 4, Tiongson 4, Misi 2.
3-pt. goals – Archer 1, Bossio 1.
Fouled out – None.
Technicals – None.
VU – Mason 10, Chuang 0, Wynne 23, Gorman 22, Jones 16, Zaragoza 3, Hann 2, Allman 2, Diandy 2.
3-pt goals – Wynne 6, Jones 3, Gormon 1, Zaragoza 1.
Fouled out – Chuang, Mason.
Technicals – None.
Halftime – VU, 48-26.