The Ventura College men's basketball team held off a pesky Oxnard College Condor team Saturday night at the Athletic Event Center, posting a 91-84 victory to remain in first place in the Western State Conference North Division. Tone Patton continued his strong play with 27 points, shooting 10-15 from the floor and 7-10 at the free throw line. He also pulled in seven rebounds. Timothy Turner and Lamont Landers each came off the bench to score 15 points for the Pirates (16-10, 7-1).
Ventura (7-1) maintained its 1-game conference lead over Allan Hancock (6-2) and Cuesta (6-2) as all three teams posted victories Saturday night. The Pirates travel to play the Cougars on Tuesday while the Bulldogs take on the Cougars on Friday next week.
A bucket by Keron Bailey and a three by Thomas Dangerfield gave the Pirates a lead they would not relinquish in the first three minutes of the game. Patton and Jelani Bell connected for back-to-back scores and VC led 9-4 with 16:55 remaining in the first half. A 3-point play by Patton, a jump shot by Dangerfield and a Turner free throw made the score 19-11 at the 10:40 mark. After the Condors closed to within seven points on a pair of trips down the floor, Ventura used a 9-0 run to break the game open. Dangerfield hit from range then followed with a tip-in. Patton and Bailey each then scored on jumpers and the Pirates led 37-21 with 4:23 on the clock. The Condors fought back, however, and by the time halftime came around, they had closed to within 44-38.
Ventura reestablished control early in the second half with six straight points. A Patton lay-up with an assist by Bell got things started, followed by a Bailey jumper off Patton's dime and a Turner lay-up. Patton's 3-point play at the 13:18 mark extended the lead to 14, 59-45, and the lead remained in the 10-15 point range for the next five minutes of game time. Elijah McCloud had a tip-in with 8:40 remaining to make it 69-55 for the Pirates, and Turner's made lay-up extended the score to 75-61 for VC at the 6:31 mark. That is when the Condors made one final push for a comeback, outscoring Ventura 12-3 over the next 2:41, making it a five point game, 78-73. Oxnard closed as close as four points, 80-76 with 2:57 left, but Turner converted two lay-ups around a Patton charity shot to extend the lead back to nine points, 85-76, on the next three possessions. The Pirates' lead was seven points heading into the final minute, and they made just enough free throws to maintain the margin until the final buzzer. The Pirates held off the Condors for the 94-87 victory.
Turner added six rebounds to his point total, and Dangerfield scored 10 points with four boards. Bell handed out five assists and Dayveon Bates totaled seven points with six caroms. Bailey finished with seven points and a team-high eight rebounds.
The Pirates have a chance to secure their fourth straight WSC title on Tuesday, traveling to San Luis Obispo to take on second-place Cuesta. Tip-off against the Cougars is slated for 5:00 pm.