For the third straight game, the Ventura College men's basketball team used a strong defensive performance in the second half to erase a halftime deficit and propel the team to victory at the Gregg Anderson memorial Tournament at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster. Sunday, VC trailed the host Marauders 34-31 a the break before mounting a strong comeback in the 71-60 win. Lamont Landers led VC (6-4) with 20 points while Thomas Dangerfield hit for 13. Keron Bailey had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. The Pirate victory avenges an earlier 69-63 loss to AVC on Nov. 3 in Ventura.
Both teams got off to a slow start as it took Ventura nearly two minutes before Dangerfield opened the scoring with a 3-pointer. Antelope Valley responded with 10 straight points over the next three minutes to take a 10-3 lead five minutes into play. A pair of free throws by Timothy turner, and a trey by Jacob Berry closed the gap, and the Pirates stayed well within striking distance for the remainder of the half. Tone Patton's three off a Turner assist tied the game at 28 with 3:13 remaining, but the Marauders responded with six straight points. Landers then hit from range to make it 34-31 at halftime.
AVC struck first in the second half, expanding the edge to five points before Ventura netted seven straigt points to take the lead. Dayveon Bates hit back-to-back buckets, and Bailey connected from behind the arc to give VC a 38-36 lead with 17:05 on the clock. There were two lead changes and two ties over the next six-plus minutes of play before consecutive triples by Jelani Bell and landers put Ventura ahead for good, 48-44, at the 10:43 mark. Bailey and Landers each scored to extend the Pirate advantage, and a three by Landers with 8:11 remaining augmented the lead to eight points, 56-48.
Down the stretch, VC answered every challenge, including connecting on seven of eight free throws in the final minute of the game. The Pirates rode out the momentum for the 71-60 triumph.
Turner facilitated the offense with eight assists while Bell and Patton each added seven points to the Ventura cause.
Ventura will return to the court on Friday Dec. 14 at the College of the Sequoias Wyndham Classic in Visalia against Shasta College. Tip-off is slated for 5:00 pm.