The Pirates' men's basketball team opened up a double-digit lead early, then made it hold up through a furious Oxnard comeback late, posting a 91-86 victory over the Condors on the road Saturday afternoon. Dayveon Bates led six Pirates in double figures with 19 points while Thomas Dangerfield netted 16 for VC (12-9, 3-0). Ventura sits alone in first place in the Western State Conference North Division, one game ahead of Hancock, Cuesta and Moorpark. VC hosts Cuesta next time out on Jan. 30.
Timothy Turner had a couple of buckets early, and Keron Bailey netted a deuce and had a 3-point play. Jelani Bell's trey with 15:45 left in the first half, followed by a basket by Bates put Ventura ahead 16-7. VC maintained the advantage around 10 points for the remainder of the half, and went into intermission ahead 47-40.
Bates scored nine of the Pirates' first 12 points of the second half, with Dangerfield hitting a triple for the rest, and Ventura maintained their margin around double-figures. VC led 75-65 with 8:30 remaining in the game before the Condors went on a 8-2 run over the next three minutes to cut the lead to 77-73. The teams fought it out from there, with Oxnard coming to within a single possession late in the game, but the Pirates were able to hold off the Condors for the 91-86 final decision.
Turner, Bailey and Bell each had 14 points in the victory while Tone Patton contributed 10 points to the cause.
Ventura will next host Cuesta on Wednesday Jan. 30. Tip-off is slated for 5:00 pm at the Athletic Event Center and the game will be followed by the VC women at 7:00 pm.