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Williams guides Vaqueros past El Camino, 63-56

Williams guides Vaqueros past El Camino, 63-56

Cody Williams led a balanced scoring attack with a season-high 15 points on Saturday night and SBCC held off El Camino 63-57 for its second straight men's basketball victory in the Sports Pavilion.

Williams, a 6-6 freshman from Phoenix who's the younger brother of UCSB star Alan Williams, made 6-8 from the field and 3-4 from the 3-point line. He scored nine of his team's first 18 points and hit a 15-foot jumper from the right elbow to cap a decisive 8-0 run that gave the Vaqueros (2-4) an 18-10 lead midway through the first half.

"We're finally getting into some chemistry and working as a team," said Williams, who drilled a 3-pointer to open the second half on an assist from Alonzo McCain. "We're getting everybody the shots they need. We're noticing what the defense is doing and taking advantage of it a lot better."

Sean Keyes, who provides instant offense off the bench, scored 13 points in 15 minutes, including a pair of 3-pointers. Ty Cleland had a season-high 11 points while Thomas Walker contributed nine points and five rebounds.

Wallace Baker-Mason, a 6-2 freshman, had his best game of the year with nine points and five boards.

The Vaqueros narrowly outshot the Warriors 44.7 to 43.1 percent but hit 7-18 from downtown compared to 3-14 for the visitors. El Camino (2-4) struggled from the free-throw line, making just 9-of-20.

The Vaqueros led 31-25 at halftime and enjoyed their biggest lead at 48-36 with 10:19 to play after back-to-back triples by Keyes and Justin Holden.

At the 9:02 mark, Williams suffered a painful shoulder injury and never returned.

Dantay Blanson canned a 3-pointer to ignite a 12-1 Warrior run in the second half. Kyle Brown scored on tip-in to pull El Camino within one at 49-48 with 5:58 to play. But the Vaqueros responded with seven straight points on a free throw by McCain, a layin by Alex Koutroubis, an 11-foot bank by Cleland and a layup by Baker-Mason on the press break.

That gave the Vaqueros a 56-48 lead with 2:19 to play.

Malik Wildermuth topped the Warriors with 18 points and five rebounds. El Camino made just 36 percent in the opening half and missed all five of its 3-point tries.

"We were trying to run them off the 3-point line in the first half and we did that," said coach Morris Hodges. "The thing we didn't do was step up and stop the dribble penetration. And we fouled too much in the first half.

"Cody gave us a good spark early and we had great balance with three guys in double figures. This game was similar to the Glendale game. When (El Camino) got within one, we were able to make some plays. Wallace did a nice job with a couple of nice moves and he hit some free throws at the end."

The Vaqueros knocked down 7-10 free throws in the final 1:41 to improve to 2-0 at home this year.

Santa Barbara will host the 42nd annual SBCC Classic on Thursday through Saturday. The Vaqueros open vs. San Diego Miramar on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Other first-round games are Cypress vs. L.A. Valley at 3 p.m.; Victor Valley vs. Irvine Valley at 5 p.m. and Hancock vs. Pasadena at 9 p.m.