Timothy Turner and Lamont Landers came off the bench Friday for the VC men's basketball team, scoring 24 and 23 points, respectively, in leading the Pirates to an 86-81 victory at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita on Friday. The win closed Ventura's non-conference schedule with an even 9-9 record heading into Western State Conference North Division play next weekend.
The Pirates got off to a slow start, falling behind 15-3 just five minutes into the contest. The Cougars stretched the advantage to 15 points, 30-15, with 8:56 left in the first half before the Pirates mounted a furious comeback. Landers hit a three to begin a 9-0 run, followed by a steal and lay-up by Turner. Tone Patton turned an offensive rebound into two points and Turner followed with another deuce to reduce the deficit to 30-24 with 6:33 on the clock. Landers answered a CoC 3-pointer with another shot from range, and Patton had back-to-back buckets. Dayveon Bates pulled VC to within two, 35-33, with an offensive rebound and bucket at the 3:49 mark. Landers hit another triple to give Ventura the lead, 36-35, then hit again from behind the arc after a Cougar basket. Jelani Bell hit a free throw and Turner made a lay-up to give the Pirates a 42-37 halftime margin.
Canyons started the second half with a 12-3 run to retake the lead, 49-45. Bates then sandwiched a pair of scores around buckets by Patton and Turner, and Landers hit another three as the Pirates used an 11-2 run to put the count back in their favor, 56-51, with 13:17 left to play. Five minutes later CoC held their final lead, 68-66 before Turner tied the game and Landers hit two free throws to put the Pirates ahead for good. Bates hit a jumper to make it 77-70 with 4:24 remaining in the game, and Elijah McCloud converted Landers' assist to maintain the seven point advantage with 3:14 left. The Cougars mounted one final charge, closing to within 79-78 with 1:32 on the clock when Bates scored to hold the line. VC hit five of six free throws in the final minute to set the final score at 86-81.
Bates finished the night with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds while Patton recorded eight points and nine boards. Landers dropped seven dimes for VC in the win.
The Pirates will open conference play on Saturday Jan. 19 against Santa Barbara City College. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:00 pm at the Athletic Event Center, and the game will be followed by the VC women at 7:00 pm.