Hancock College's guys made things look easy in the first half because, well, they made sure things were easy for them against an over-matched Santa Barbara City College side in the first half.
The Bulldogs worked the ball around for 22 assists before intermission. The vast majority of what they put up in the first half went in, and the Bulldogs went on to an 88-53 rout of the Vaqueros in a Western State Conference North Division game at Hancock's Joe White Memorial Gymnasium Wednesday night.
Hancock moved to 18-4, 3-1. SBCC, which suited up just seven players, is 3-18, 0-4.
"We need to move the ball around more, side to side, and we certainly did a better job of that tonight," said Hancock coach Tyson Aye.
Inside stuff, the long game - it was all working for the Bulldogs in the first half. Hancock shot 25-for-35 in the first 20 minutes, and the Bulldogs buried seven of their 11 3-point tries then.
The Bulldogs scored on their first eight possessions en route to a 61-24 halftime lead. They were ahead from the time Spirit Ricks took a pass from Gabrys Sadaunykas and made a layup to make it 4-2 with exactly one minute gone in the game.
Ricks is a 6-foot-7 sophomore who was a prominent player for a Hancock team that made it to the state tournament last year. He did a lot of damage inside during the first half Wednesday night. Ricks scored 11 of his 14 points then.
Hancock reserve Mike Mensah, a 6-4 freshman from Los Angeles Cathedral, did a lot of damage from outside before intermission.
His teammates were finding him open, and Mensah knocked down three treys en route to scoring 13 of his team high 16 points in the first half. Mensah finished 6-for-9 from the floor, including 4-for-7 on treys.
"In high school I played a mix, inside and outside," said Mensah.
"They have done a good job of simplifying my life here. My teammates do a good job on the drive and dish, and that lets me get open," for long-range shots.
Twelve of the 14 Bulldogs who played scored. Hancock's players on the bench stood up and shouted their approval when back-up Mitchell Lallier made a layup late in the second half.
During the academic exercise that was the second half, Aye played a mixture of starters and reserves - mostly reserves.
The Bulldogs did not score a second-half basket until Mensah made a 3-point shot at the 15:21 mark. After that, Hancock's points came more steadily. Besides, the Bulldogs' reserves played some pretty good defense.
Reserves Xavier Cooper and Diego Lucas put in eight points apiece for Hancock. Lucas made all three of his field goal tries and sank his only free throw.
Joseph Holden scored a game-high 22 points for Santa Barbara. Zeke McMurtry put in 20 for the Vaqueros.
Hancock out-rebounded SBCC 49-30. Back-up Tasson Thomas snared 11 rebounds for the Bulldogs. McMurtry grabbed 13 rebounds, the high for the game.
Three WSC North teams made it to the post-season last year. Ventura College won the conference title in a close race, and Aye sees no reason why a close WSC North race won't be on tap again this year.
"I think it's very balanced before the top four teams in the conference, Ventura, Cuesta, Moorpark and us," said Aye.
"We're just going to have to be aggressive, consistent," in order to get the WSC North championship, Mensah said.
Hancock will finish the first half of its WSC North schedule with a 5 p.m. game at arch rival Cuesta Saturday.
SBCC women 55, Hancock 47
A game but injury-depleted Hancock squad (9-10, 1-3) lost to the Vaqueros (13-8, 1-3) in a WSC North game.
Hancock coach Cary Nerelli said before the game started that Kylie Mendez, the Bulldogs' starting freshman point guard, was out for the rest of the season with a broken fibula.
Another starter, Willow Bailey, suffered what appeared to be an injury to her right ankle Wednesday night. Bailey played 11 minutes, so Hancock was down to six players for most of the game.
The Vaqueros kept enough of their 37-25 halftime lead to win.
Aaliyah Pauling scored a game high 21 points for SBCC. Jennae Mayberry added 10 for the Vaqueros.
Danielle Morgan scored 15 points for Hancock. Tawny Lino and Tashara Pruett put in 10 apiece. Morgan, Lino and Sydney Meneses each played all 40 minutes for Hancock.
Meneses snared 12 rebounds, and Pruett grabbed 11 for the Bulldogs, who out-rebounded the Vaqueros 48-38.
Hancock shot just 19-for-57 from the floor, including 2-for-16 from 3-point range, and made seven of its 21 free throws. SBCC was 21-for-61 from the floor. The Vaqueros made half of their 10 3-point tries.