COSTA MESA, Calif. – Junior DeAngelo Jones (Cheney, Wash.) posted his third straight 15-plus point performance on Monday evening against University of Northern British Columbia, leading the Lions to an 80-59 victory with a contest-high 23 points. Vanguard has won six straight and improves to 13-2 on the season.
"Going home for Christmas was really good for me, it gave me a much needed break to rest up my body for the remainder of the season," Jones said. "This was a great team win for our program. It was good to see everyone step up their level of play and contribute because we didn't have the scoring or the defensive intensity that we are accustomed to getting from Preston in this game."
The Pride found itself trailing the Timberwolves 22-14 eight minutes into the first period, however, the Lions rallied, chipping away at Northern British Columbia's edge with offensive discipline while making defensive stops. The result was a 9-0 Vanguard run, ending in a Noel Larkins' (Placentia, Calif.) 3-pointer. The shot gave Vanguard its first lead (24-23) since the 17:42 mark.
The remaining minutes of the half were back-and-forth, though a steal and lay-up by junior Chris Gorman (Oceanside, Calif.) in the final 30 seconds gave the Lions a brief four-point lead before UNBC's Charles Barton sank a deep jumper at the buzzer to cut the margin to 32-30.
Barton led all players at the break with 13, but Jones came close with 11 points of his own.
Vanguard shot just 28.9 percent from the field and a woeful 18.8 percent from deep in the period, compared to the Timberwolves' 12-28 (42.9%) shooting effort.
Northern British Columbia out-rebounded the Lions 24-22 through 20 minutes, but Vanguard forced 12 turnovers and compiled 10 steals in the persistent defensive performance.
In the second, Jones came out hot, scoring 10 of the Pride's first 14 points as the Blue and Gold built its advantage to 46-36 with 14:32 to play in the contest.
A fast-break dunk from freshman Zach Allmon (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) and a tip-in on the ensuing possession bolstered the Lions' lead to 14, but an inopportune foul on a make by the Timberwolves' Jeff Chu cut the gap to 52-41 at 12:54.
Junior Selle Hann (Dakar, Senegal) came in late for the Lions but made an immediate impact, scoring one bucket on a quick slash to the basket from the left and another on a cut to the hoop in a set piece.
The Blue and Gold never trailed in the second and eventually claimed the big 21-point victory.
Vanguard's rebounding effort was much improved in the second as it eventually out-boarded the Timberwolves 49-36 overall.
Junior Keith Mason (Carson, Calif.) played a huge role in the superior rebounding half, garnering 11 rebounds to go along with his 12 points. Allmon finished one board shy of the double-double with 11 points, while senior Swing Chuang (Kaohsiung, Taiwan) added six rebounds to the Lions' total.
Gorman's line featured 15 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and a game-high 4 steals. Jones also had a well-rounded night with 23 points, 6 boards, 2 steals and a contest-best 4 assists.
Larkins managed 8 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals in the win.
Men's hoops will take a two-week break before traveling to San Diego Christian to open the 2014 Golden State Athletic Conference slate. The game is scheduled for 7:30 pm.