SBCC men’s basketball battles against Bakersfield, falls 88-78

No. 44 Elijah Simpson splits the defense during a game against the Bakersfield College Renegades on Tuesday, Nov. 9 at the Sports Pavilion at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. The Renegades would go on to win 88-78.

Eric Evelhoch, Sports Editor

Though the challenge facing the City College men’s basketball team on Tuesday night will become a familiar one, so too should be their competitive response.

The Vaqueros (1-1) were able to pull even with visiting Bakersfield College once after the opening tipoff and never held a lead in the game, falling 88-78 at the Sports Pavilion.

“You can’t replicate size and that kind of athleticism in practice, so we had to get a feel for it, but to our credit, we kept battling,” head coach Devin Engebretsen said.

Sophomore forward Brycyn Gossett led City College with 18 points and equaled the game-high eight rebounds. The Renegades (1-0) took advantage of the size mismatches as 6’6” forward Deandre Pemberton led all scorers with 21 points, and 6’5” guard Rahmel Davis added another 18 as Bakersfield College finished with four double-digit scorers.

The size disparity at key positions made it difficult for City College to regularly attack the paint, and Bakersfield College took advantage of that edge by getting to the line for 48 free throws. The Vaqueros went 22 of 26 from the charity stripe.

“I told our guys they probably shot legitimately 40 free throws which speaks to a certain level of aggressiveness, but we also have to be better at guarding the basketball one-on-one,” Engebretsen said.

City College shook off four-for-15 shooting in the opening 10 minutes and pulled even at 26-26 with 2:47 before halftime on Gossett’s right post turnaround. The team captain, from Dos Pueblos High, shot an efficient six-of-seven from the field while making all six free throws.

“We’ve got to give him the ball more,” Engebretsen said. “The thing about [Gossett] is he shares — he had multiple touches but he’s looking to pass too.”

Bakersfield College led 32-28 at the break, then scored the first seven to build an 11-point lead in the initial 1:39 of the second half. The closest the Vaqueros came afterward was within four at 63-59 on a Gossett bucket with 7:32 to play.

Freshman forward Adam Weingard added 10 points and four rebounds, while freshman guard/forward Tommy Condon scored eight and freshman forward Billy Whitting came off the bench with eight points and four boards for City College.

“Every single game of the 28 we have scheduled are going to be against teams like [Bakersfield]. There’s all elements of athleticism, length and speed,” Engebretsen said.

“We are not the tallest, fastest and most athletic, but we can beat people with fundamentals, movement and basketball IQ because we’re a different bag than other teams.”

City College will take part in the LA Valley Tournament beginning Wednesday, Nov. 10 against the host Monarchs at 7 p.m. The Vaqueros’ next home game will be Wednesday, Nov. 17 against College of the Canyons at 5 p.m.