The Ventura College men's basketball team traveled to San Luis Obispo Saturday evening, and despite a strong start, the Pirates were unable upset conference leading Cuesta, falling 67-50. Vondel Faniel led VC with another double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Both teams struggled early offensively, but the Pirates were able to jump out to a lead behind tough work on the glass and some perimeter makes from sophomore forwards Vondel Faniel and Eric Davis. Freshmen guards Jalon Wilson and Jamal Lewis also had early success from the perimeter knocking down open threes against the Cuesta zone. Early success from behind the arc allowed VC to take a 22-18 lead into the eight-minute mark of the first half.
The last eight mintes of the period, however, the Pirates did not fair so well. VC managed only four points the remainder of the half while Cuesta put together an 11-4 run, capped by a last-second 3-pointer which gave the Cougars a 29-26 halftime lead.
The second half continued much like the first ended. Missed shots coupled with Pirate mistakes led to easy buckets for Cuesta. A 10-2 Cougar run in the opening minutes of the second half deflated much of the Pirate momentum. Cuesta lead 39-28 just minutes into the second half leading to a Pirate timeout. Cuesta continued their run, taking their lead to as many 20 points before the Ventura countered with a run of their own. VC whittled the lead to within 11, but that was as close as they came. Cuesta hung on down the stretch to its 67-50 victory.
Faniel finished with yet another double double, tallying 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Wilson added 11.
The VC men return home Saturday Feb. 7 to host Allan Hancock. Tip-off is set for 5:00 pm, with the Pirate women to follow.