Saddleback College lost twice Wednesday night.
The Gauchos lost to Rancho Santiago, 70-64, in Santa Ana in South Coast Conference men's basketball action, and also lost a chance to be in the Southern Division state playoffs.
Had the Gauchos won, they would have been the 25th seed, but the Saddleback loss sends Mira Costa to the playoffs and the Gauchos (7-9, 12-15) home.
The Dons (4-12, 16-15) overcame a 37-29 Gaucho halftime lead, in the first four minutes of the second half. Rancho Santiago tied the score, 37-37, on a four-point play by freshman forward Mike McConnell.
After McConnell picked up a loose ball at midcourt, he raced to the basket and was fouled while making the shot. The foul was called intentional and McConnell made two free throws to tie the game.
Saddleback recovered and took the lead, 50-46, but the Dons scored 14 consecutive points to open a 60-50 lead. During the run, freshman guard Mike Moses scored 8 of his game-high 16 points and freshman center Howard Cole scored 4 of his 6 points. All of Cole's points were from the free-throw line.
"We didn't play very well," Saddleback Coach Bill Brummel said. "We played like a young club, not ready to go to the state playoffs."
The Gauchos mounted one late rally and cut the margin to 64-62 with 50 seconds left. But guard Simon Thomas made both ends of a one-and-one situation twice and McConnell did the same once. Thomas finished with 14 points, and McConnell added 10.
Freshman forward Brent Martin scored 15 points and had 17 rebounds for the Dons.
SADDLEBACK (64)--Desiano 7, Taylor 10, Minier 9, Miles 9, Lemon 12, Sullivan 1, Dwinell 12, Magee 4.
RANCHO SANTIAGO (70)--Moses 16, Thomas 14, Schurman 2, McConnell 10, Cole 6, Martin 15, Davis 3, Elliott 2.
In other South Coast Conference men's action:
Cerritos 89, Orange Coast 62--The Cerritos win coupled with Cypress' loss to Mt. SAC gives the Falcons the conference championship. Tom Tolbert led the Falcons with 11 points. The Pirates' Bob Mulcahey led all scorers with 12. Cerritos (15-1, 29-2) advances to the Southern California Regionals while Orange Coast ends its season at 5-11 and 12-17.
Mt. SAC 61, Cypress 60--The Chargers missed a shot at the buzzer, costing them the game and a tie for the conference title. James Jones led the Mounties with 20 points. Phil Dobbs led the Chargers with 15 points. Mt. SAC is now 9-7 and 19-10. Cypress fell to 14-2 and 21-6.
Compton 94, Fullerton 88--Darnell Bullock led the Tartars with 21 points at Compton. Rocco Meyers led the Hornets with 25 points. Compton is now 9-7 and 17-12. Fullerton fell to 8-8 and 14-15. The Hornets enter the playoffs on the road against Santa Monica Saturday night.
In women's community college basketball:
Orange Coast 75, Cerritos 47--Mary Thobe led the Pirates with 22 points at Orange Coast. Jane Hentzen scored 10 points for the Falcons. OCC is now 12-4 and 23-7. Cerritos' league record fell to 13-3.
Saddleback 76, Rancho Santiago 57--Sandy Taylor and Connie Waikle each scored 24 points to lead the Gauchos at Saddleback College. The second-place Gauchos improved to 12-4 in the South Coast Conference and 21-9 overall.