FULLERTON, Calif. - The #7 Hornets took on the #1 team in the state in Saddleback College at home on Wednesday night knocking off the Gauchos 46-45.
Hornet head coach Perry Webster managed to get one over on his mentor and former coach Andy Ground. It is Fullerton's first win over Saddleback since February 14, 2011.
Tonight's win propels the Hornets to an undefeated OEC mark of 6-0 with an overall record of 17-5. The loss hands Saddleback their first Orange Empire loss of the season landing them at 5-1. Their overall record now stands at 19-3.
Saddleback is one of the best defensive teams in the state allowing a mere 56 points a game. Fullerton averages just over 60 points a game.
The Hornets fell behind early as the Gauchos grabbed 8-1 lead at 17:34. FC kicked it into gear soon after going on a 9-0 run taking their first lead of the game at 10-8.
The Gaucho's Breaon Brady nailed a jumper to take a 15-12 lead, but then the Hornets went on another run (6-3) to take a 21-15 lead with the help of Dillon Reise's layup at 8:35.
The first half remained a back and forth battle with it ending in a 26-26 tie.
The Gauchos struggled in the beginning of the second half, as they were unable to score a field goal until the eighth minute. Saddleback's dry-spell allowed Fullerton to take their largest lead of the game (33-26) on a three-pointer by Ian Fox.
Then the Hornet's shooting went cold due to some excellent defense by the Gauchos. This allowed Saddleback to tie the game up 39-39 with just over five minutes left.
Saddleback's Reggie Varner cut the lead down hitting a three from the corner (44-42). Then Ian Fox added two free throws to put Fullerton up by four.
With 59 seconds left in regulation, Varner struck again from the corner hitting another three coming within one of the Hornets. It would be the last bucket of the night as Fullerton held on for the win becoming the only undefeated team left in the Orange Empire Conference.
Everybody in the gym tonight knew this game was going to come down to the wire. There were 5 lead changes in the game and 5 ties. Fullerton shot 31.9% from the field compared to Saddleback's 39.1% The Hornets were strong down low out-rebounding the Gauchos 41-33. Both teams turned the ball over 11 times.
Dillon Reise had a game-high 12 points for the Hornets. He also added 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Kenny Barnes contributed 9 points with 10 rebounds and Ian Fox scored 9 points as well. Fox also delivered 4 assists.
Up Next: The Hornets (17-5, 6-0) will look to keep their hot-streak going this Friday, January 27th when they play down the road at Cypress College. Tip off is at 5:00 pm.
(Recap courtesy Fullerton College Athletics)