The Ventura College men's basketball team used another balanced effort to stretch their Western State Conference winning streak to four games Wednesday night with a 78-69 victory over Cuesta at the Athletic Event Center. Timothy Turner led five players in double figures with 17 points while Keron Bailey had an animal-style double-double of 15 points and 17 rebounds. Tone Patton also doubled up with 12 points and 11 boards for the Pirates (13-9, 4-0).
It was slow-going for VC early in the game as they missed their first seven shots and did not score until Dayveon Bates hit a jumper at the 16:54 mark of the first half. Fortunately, Cuesta had a cold shooting touch as well, and the game was tied at 2-2 at that point. The Cougars then opened up leads of 7-2 and 17-11, only to see the Pirates fight back each time. Midway through the half, Cuesta held a 19-16 advantage before Ventura went on an 11-0 run to take charge in the game. Bailey assisted a Thomas Dangerfield three that tied the game at 19 with 9:06 on the clock, then Turner made a lay-up and completed a 3-point play to give VC a five-point lead. Jelani Bell connected from range with helper by Jacob Berry and Ventura led 27-19 at the 5:59 mark. The Pirates opened up a 10-point cushion on another Bell triple, and Jaelon LaGard's bucket in the final minute of play made it 36-26 for the Pirates at halftime.
The Cougars closed to within four points in the opening minutes of the second half, 38-34, but the Pirates responded in kind by expanding the lead back to double-figures. Bates scored back-to-back buckets and Bailey's field goal with 15:58 remaining stretched the lead back to 10 points 44-34. Bell converted from range from a Dangerfield dime at the 10:02 mark to make the score 53-38, and Ventura eventually expanded the margin to 23 points, 61-38, with 7:50 left to play. Cuesta made one final run in the closing minutes, pulling to within four points, 73-69, with under a minute remaining, but the PIrates were able to hold on for the 78-69 win.
Turner also added six assists to his point total for the night, and Bell finished with 16 points and four dimes. Dangerfield netted 10 points with seven caroms.
Ventura finishes the first round of conference action on Saturday Feb. 2 at Moorpark College. tip-off at Raider Pavilion is slated for 1:00 pm.