LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Vanguard men's basketball defeated NAIA powerhouse No. 4 Robert Morris (IL) 97-92 in overtime on Saturday evening in the Tip-Off Classic in Las Vegas. Junior transfer Preston Wynne (Wellpinit, Wash.) paced the Lions with a 30-point performance while senior Ennis Whatley Jr. (Columbia, Md.) registered a monster 20-point, 18-rebound double-double for the Blue and Gold.
The Pride also got 23 points from sophomore Chris Gorman (Oceanside, Calif.) who played 40+ minutes in the contest. Nine of Gorman's 23 came from the free throw line.
Senior Taylor Kelly (Bakersfield, Calif.) dished a team-high eight assists and managed seven points and five rebounds in 33 minutes. Whatley and Gorman each posted four steals and two assists in the victory. Wynne garnered seven rebounds, three assists and three steals of his own.
"First off, I think tonight we learned how to bounce back from a loss," Head Coach Rhett Soliday said. "Secondly, we learned that if we stick with what we have worked on in terms of offensive execution then we will get good results. There were times tonight when Robert Morris had control at crucial points, but we managed to stick together, play our game and respond which turned the game in our favor. I was most proud of the way that we kept fighting in overtime when we were tired and down. We just didn't quit."
The game was back and forth throughout and featured multiple ties and lead changes. At one point in the overtime period, Vanguard found itself trailing by six, but roared back to outscore Robert Morris 15-10 and claimed the upset victory.
With the win, the Lions move to 3-1 on the year.
On Friday, the Lions suffered their first loss of the 2012-13 season at the hands of No. 13 Westminster (Utah). The final score read 77-56, but the 21-point margin was deceiving, as Vanguard had its chances but failed to convert in key situations.
"Westminster played a tough defense which threw us off," Soliday said. "It got us out of rhythm and we failed to execute when we had opportunities to shift the momentum. The game was closer than the score indicated, but our mistakes allowed them to open it up down the stretch."
The Pride have another tough challenge ahead in No. 20 Cal State San Marcos on November 16th. Vanguard will host the Cougars at 7:30pm in The Pit.