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Men's Basketball: Lions handle Eagles

No. 12-ranked Vanguard, led by 30 points from Wynne, roll over perennial power No. 8 Concordia at home.

January 28, 2014|By Barry Faulkner
(SCOTT SMELTZER…)

Even if the result wasn't that big of a surprise, the cushion by which host Vanguard University defeated Golden State Athletic Conference men's basketball powerhouse Concordia was enough to leave the Lions and their fans giddy.

Vanguard, which defeated the Eagles last season at home for the first time in five seasons, dropped a 94-79 thumping on the program that had won six of the last eight GSAC regular-season titles. The Eagles (16-5, 3-2 in conference) also came in ranked No. 8 in the NAIA, four spots ahead of the Lions.

The victory, propelled by a 30-point performance from senior guard Preston Wynne, not only extended the Lions' winning streak to 13 games and upped their record to 18-2, 5-0, it gave them a two-game lead in the conference standings over Concordia and Biola.

Vanguard Coach Rhett Soliday, who played and was an assistant coach at Concordia, said his team matched the Eagles' trademark toughness, winning the rebounding battle, 40-32, committing two fewer turnovers than the visitors and maintaining the lead nearly the final 32 minutes.

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"But we knew that to beat them, it's not enough to match their toughness," Soliday said. " You have to make plays too and our guys made big plays. They stuck big shots when we needed them and they made enough plays. We got 19 offensive rebounds. They just went after the ball and that's the only way you beat [the Eagles] because they are so tough."

Down, 17-15, Vanguard used a 10-3 run to take control ended the first half on a 6-2 roll that gave it a 46-39 advantage.

After Concordia, which lost its senior scoring leader, Tim Harris, to academic ineligibility after 14 games and has gone just 4-3 since, scored the first point of the second half, the Lions reeled off the next 12 points and were never really threatened again.

The Lions led by as many as 25 as junior point guard Chris Gorman (17 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals) continually came up big, as did junior guard DeAngelo Jones, who had 17 points, five assists and five rebounds.

Wynne connected on 10 of 19 field-goal attempts, including four of nine from three-point range, He also netted all six of his foul shots as Vanguard sank 19 of 21 from the line.

"He's the best player I've ever coached and he's one of the toughest," Soliday said of Wynne, who at one stretch during the second half, made five straight shots from the field, including a pair of threes to help take all hope from the Eagles.

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