Despite playing a very strong first half defensively and solid perimeter shooting, the Pirates' men's basketball team dropped the opener of the Alvin Hunter Classic at San Bernardino Valley College to the host Wolverines 74-62 Friday night. Toure Atwater had 17 points and Robert Hunt added 14 to the cause for Ventura (2-2).
The Pirates fell behind 8-2 early but a 3-pointer and two free throws by Hunt and a pair of charity tosses by Atwater gave VC a 9-8 lead with 17:11 remaining in the first half. The game was tied again at 13, 15 and 17 before the Wolverines took the lead for good at the 7:55 mark of the period. Zach Gwin hit a lay-up in the final minute to clos ethe gap to 32-29, but a late San bernardino bucket made the halftime score 34-29.
SBVC was able to grab 14 offensive rebounds in the first half, many of which were turned into instant buckets. While the Wolverines dominated that aspect, the game was still close at the break.
After a Chris Thompson lay-in, the Wolverines scored six unanswered points to take control of the contest 41-31 with 17:28 left to play. The Pirates closed to within 47-42 on Atwater's 3-pointer with 13:12 on the clock but they would get no closer. SBVC opened up a 17-point cushion before the Pirates closed the gap for the final 74-62 score.
Elijah Brown came off the bench to add 12 points, joining Atwater and Hunt in double-figures. Vondel Faniel had eight points with 10 rebounds. Jalon Wilson and Thompson each handed out three assists. The Pirates were plagued with 25 tournovers in the game, 15 in the second half.
VC moves to the consolation bracket where they will take on Riverside City College on Saturday Nov. 15 at 3:00 pm. The Tigers are coached by VC Hall0f Fame coach Phil Mathews, who coached current Ventura head coach Joey Ramirez and assistant coach Hakeem Ward.