PHOENIX – Junior point guard Chris Gorman (Oceanside, Calif.) sank a pair of high pressure free throws with eight seconds on the game clock to propel No. 23 Vanguard past No. 13 Arizona Christian Saturday evening in a greatly anticipated Golden State Athletic Conference men's basketball match-up.
Gorman's 31 points, 4 assists and 2 steals led all players. The winning effort was aided by three additional Lions with double-digit scoring numbers as junior Keith Mason (Carson, Calif.), senior Preston Wynne (Wellpinit, Wash.) and junior DeAngelo Jones (Cheney, Wash.) posted 14, 11 and 11, respectively, for The Pride on the night.
Mason was clutch in the rebounding department in the win, grabbing a team-best 7 off of the glass in the affair for Vanguard. Five of Mason's boards were offensive.
The Blue and Gold trailed 34-28 heading into the locker room at the break.
Vanguard played from behind for nearly the entire game and did not lead in the second half until the clock struck 1:15 when Mason put the Lions up 74-72 with a lay-up.
Eight seconds later the game was brought back to even after two makes at the free throw line by Arizona Christian's leader Talib Uqdah. Vanguard brought the ball down the floor but could not convert for the lead and on the next Arizona Christian possession Uqdah was fouled again. He missed the front end but sank the second to give the Firestorm a one-point edge with 39 ticks remaining.
The Lions fired off a 3-pointer at the 22-second mark and missed, but Mason somehow obtained the offensive rebound and kicked it out to Gorman, who was fouled on a drive to the hole with just :08 on the clock.
Gorman rewarded his teammate's hard fought effort on the glass with a pair of makes to put Vanguard up 76-75.
Arizona Christian heaved a try in the final seconds, but it would not fall as Vanguard registered its 12th-straight victory.
The Lions, at 17-2 (4-0 GSAC) are one of just nine teams left in the NAIA who boast two or less losses on the year. Vanguard is the only remaining team in the GSAC to have not suffered a loss in conference play. The team has not been defeated since December 3, 2013.
Vanguard is scheduled to host GSAC rival No. 8 Concordia on Tuesday in The Pit (7:30pm).