Vanguard 79, Menlo 77
Date of competition: Saturday, January 12, 2019
Golden State Athletic Conference
By Ryan Barnett
The Menlo College men's basketball team showed just how thin the line is between winning and losing despite the difference in records. The Oaks held a lead over the Vanguard Lions for over 37 minutes but it was Vanguard which won the final three minutes to edge the Oaks, 79-77, in the Golden State Athletic Conference contest in Atherton. Menlo led the first 36 minutes of the game. That's when Brandon Brothers hit a 3-pointer to put the Lions up 74-73. It was a mad dash to the finish line, with the Lions outscoring the Oaks, 5-4, in the final four minutes. The Lions improve to 17-1 and 5-1 in the GSAC while the Oaks fall to 5-10 and 1-5 in the conference.
The Final Countdown
With 55 seconds remaining in the game, Charles Neal hit an end-of-shot clock elbow jumper to give the Oaks the lead at 77-76. On the ensuing possession, Anders Nymo poked the ball away from Vanguard's point guard Devin Riley and collapsed on the ball, calling a timeout. Unfortunately, Nymo's heroics wouldn't end the game, as he turned the ball over on the next offensive possession. With 22 seconds remaining, Brothers fired a 3-pointer that missed but teammate Malachi Hoosien knifed through traffic to get an offensive rebound and a put back, giving the Lions a 78-77 edge. The Oaks missed a shot on the next possession, prompting a foul of Hoosien with 7 seconds left. He made 1 of 2, giving Menlo a final chance. Neal drove coast to coast and dished the ball to John Paine, who couldn't hit a fade away baseline jumper at the buzzer.
Paine and LeBlanc: A Near Deadly Duo
The duo of junior forward Paine and sophomore guard N'Jai LeBlanc was nearly flawless, as the pair combined for 36 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assists. LeBlanc took 13 points into halftime along with 5 assists and added 5 more points and 2 more assists in the second. Paine did more of his damage in the second half, scoring 10 points and bringing down 5 rebounds in the second half. The two shot a combined 48 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range while knocking down 11 of 13 free throws.
Deja Vu Inside Haynes-Prim
It was the second time in as many meetings inside Haynes-Prim that the Oaks have fallen to the Lions by 2. A year ago nearly to the day Menlo fell to Vanguard 77-75 when they were beaten by Shacquille Dawkins game winning layup. The only difference? Menlo trailed a majority of last year's loss. This year, it is a much harder pill to swallow, having led the game for so long.
Menlo hits the road for Surprise, Ariz. for its first ever matchup with the Ottawa Arizona Spirit. OUAZ has had a rough go of it in its first season in the GSAC, with an overall record of 3-12 and a conference mark of 1-5. Tip off is set for 6:30 pm on Thursday.
posted by Rick Eymer on Jan 12, 2019 at 8:36 pm
N'Jai LeBlanc. Photo by Menlo Athletics.
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