The Pirates' men's basketball team closed its non-conference schedule with a 76-67 loss to visiting College of the Canyons at the Athletic Event Center Saturday afternoon. The Pirates got behind early and never managed to catch the Cougars, unable to repeat their epic comeback for a win from the previous night. Dayshone Henry had 27 points and nine rebounds to lead Ventura (9-7) and Donavan Williams netted 18 in the contest.
The Cougars got out to a fast start, putting the Pirates in a 16-5 hole seven minutes into the game. Jonathan Montesinos converted Henry's assist for a 3-pointer from the left corner, and Donavan converted an old-fashioned 3-point play to get VC back into the game. Darius Butler followed with another shot from range to cut the deficit to 16-14 with 11:00 on the clock, prompting a Canyons timeout. The Cougars responded with an 8-2 run before Donavan ended the skid with a lay-up. Ventura then countered with their own 7-2 run to close to within a bucket, 25-23, at the 6:13 mark. Butler followed a CoC score with a lay-up and Henry made one of two free throws and made a lay-up in the run. The Cougars pulled away, outscoring VC 17-5 down the stretch, and Ventura trailed 42-28 at halftime.
The Pirates' deficit grew to 15 points early in the second half before Montesinos made a three and Henry made a dunk to bring the Pirates back to within nine, 50-41, with 13:13 remaining. Butler hit a three at the midway point of the half to cut the Cougar advantage to seven, 56-49. Donavan's triple a minute later kept the Cougars within reach, but the Pirates could get no closer. The teams traded scores in the final minutes as Ventura fell by a final margin of 76-67.
Ventura moves into Western State Conference North Division play in the coming week. VC next hosts Santa Barbara City College on Wednesday Jan. 8 at 7:00 pm at the Athletic Event Center.