After a difficult first 20 minutes, the Pirates' men's basketball team battled at Mt. San Jacinto, falling to the Eagles 87-70 in a non-conference game Saturday. Keron Bailey had 19 points off the bench to lead the way for Ventura (3-4) while Timothy Turner and Tone Patton each chipped in 11. Dayveon Bates added 10 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
The Pirates got off to a slow start after the long drive to Hemet and trailed 12-2 after five minutes of play. The Eagles stretched the advantage to 17 points, 21-4, before Patton converted a 3-point play at the 10:41 mark, and VC later saw the deficit grow to 21 points, 38-17, with 3:50 remaining in the half. A Bates charity toss followed by two free shots by Turner and a 4-point play from Bailey closed the gap to 38-24 a minute later. Ventura went into halftime trailing 40-24.
VC kept up the fight in the second half but had trouble making headway against the Eagles. Seemingly every big shot by the Pirates was answered, and MSJC extended their lead to 24 points, 67-43, with 8:50 remaining. Tito Mendez scored five points late, and Bailey converted from the foul stripe to help the Pirates close the gap to the final 87-70 margin.
VC next travels to Lancaster on Friday Nov. 30 to play in the Gregg Anderson Memorial Tournament at Antelope Valley College. The Pirates tip off Friday against San Bernardino Valley at 5:00 pm.