The SBCC men’s basketball team came out on top in its home opener on Thursday, leading for most of the night in a dogfight with Desert and winning its second straight, 83-74 to begin the 2022 SBCC Classic.
HOW IT HAPPENED
After five lead changes in the first minutes of the game, the Vaqueros (3-8) went ahead on a three-pointer by Jaelen Bates and never trailed again. Bates – who finished 3-of-3 from the field with seven points and three assists – also hit one of two late Vaquero daggers to fend off the resilient Roadrunners (0-7) late in the game.
Bates’ fadeaway on the baseline with 2:22 to go put Santa Barbara up 71-64. That shot came just a couple minutes after a timely three by guard Trevor Lee, which turned a four-point lead into seven. The lead would never go below five points again.
Lee (22 points) was one of three SBCC starters to score at least 15 points. He was highly efficient while reaching the 20-point mark for the second straight game, going 8-of-12 overall and 2-for-2 from deep.
The only player to outscore Lee on the night was forward Aidan Mandel, who joined in setting a new season-high. In his first performance at the Sports Pavilion, the freshman notched his team-leading third double-double with 24 points (10-18 FG) and 10 rebounds. He also tallied four steals, three assists and two blocks.
The team’s leading scorer this season at 17.2 points per game, Mandel has now scored at least 22 points in five of his last eight outings.
Mandel scored the first four points of the second half and Lee knocked down a triple to put the home side up 40-30 at the 17:12 mark of the second half. Several minutes later, point guard Wilfrid Nado hit another three in transition to give the Vaqueros their largest lead of the night, 49-38.
Nado ended his night with 15 points and led all players with a career-best eight assists. As a team, Santa Barbara finished with a season-high 25 assists.
SBCC will move on in the winner’s bracket to face Bakersfield (4-4), which defeated Long Beach (7-4) in the final game of the night 92-87. The Vaqueros take on the Renegades at 7 p.m. on Friday night.
Michael Jorgenson works in communications/media relations at Santa Barbara City College.