The Pirates' men's basketball team returned to the hardwood Thursday afternoon, defeating Cuyamaca College 69-58 in the opening round of the Irvine Valley Classic. Thomas Dangerfield was 11-14 from the floor for 2 a team-high 24 points and Timothy Turner shot 10-15 for 21 points for Ventura (2-2). Tone Patton pulled in 10 rebounds while Turner and Jelani Bell each handed out five assists.
The Pirates were down early until Keron Bailey grabbed a steal, outlet the ball to Turner, then received it back for a 3-point shot to give VC a 9-8 lead at the 13:44 mark of the first half. Ventura extended the lead with buckets by Turner and Dangerfield to complete a 7-0 run. After the Coyotes tied the game at 13, Andy Resignac, Turner and Dayveon Bates scored in succession to push the Pirates back in front with with 7:55 remaining. Turner and Dangerfield nailed back-to-back threes to extend the advantage to 10 points, 27-17, with 6:02 on the clock, and the Pirates led 35-26 at halftime on Patton's long-range bomb.
Dangerfield and Bates hit shots to open the second half for VC, extending the margin to 49-26, and they were able to maintain the lead through much of the first 10 minutes of the period. Dangerfield made a lay-up with 7:58 remaining in the contest to make the score 56-44. The Coyotes had one last run left in them however, and they outscored the Pirates 12-2 over the next three-plus minutes to close to within two, 58-56. Patton stopped the run for the Pirates with a putback and bucket, and Dangerfield nailed a triple and a deuce to extend the lead back to nine, 65-56, with 1:58 remaining. Another Dangerfield bucket, off a steal and lay-up by Bell, and a field goal by Bell completed VC's 11-0 run and helped set the 69-58 final margin.
Patton added seven points to his 10 boards and Bates netted six for the Pirates.
Ventura heads to the tournament semifinals against undefeated Long Beach City College on Friday at 5:00 pm in Irvine.