Costa Mesa, CA:
The Oaks kicked off their 2012-13 campaign with a trip down to southern California and an 81-59 loss to a tough GSAC (Golden State Athletic Conference) school in Vanguard University (1-0). An early Lions run spelled trouble for Menlo from the get go, and coupled with a second half that saw the Oaks get outscored 49-36, and Menlo was never really able to climb back into the tilt. The defeat did have its bright spots with a pair of stellar season opening debuts from juniors Charles Barnes and Keith Bowman. Barnes led the Oaks with 16 points and nine rebounds, while Bowman unwrapped his Menlo debut with a strong 15 point, seven rebound performance on 5-of-7 shooting from the field, and 5-of-6 from the free throw line.
Menlo raced out to an early 4-0 advantage moments into the affair, before Vanguard flipped the initial script with a 14-2 run that set game's early tempo. Junior Preston Wynne accounted for half of the Lions scoring output during the spurt, before the guard from Wellpinit, WA would go down as one of four Vanguard players to eclipse the double digit point plateau.
Wynne locked up with senior forward Ennis Whatley Jr. for the team high with 20 points, while sophomore Chris Gorman chipped in with 13, and senior Taylor Kelly ended his evening with 11.
The Oaks survived the initial Lions run by cutting the deficit to 23-21 with 4:18 remaining in the first stanza, as Charles Barnes led the comeback bid with 11 straight Menlo points to bring his team back into it. However, the two point margin would prove to be as close as the Oaks would get, after Vanguard closed out the first half on a 9-2 run to take a 32-23 advantage into intermission. Menlo never got within single digits in the second half.
The Oaks will look to salvage their season opening southern California road swing this Saturday (Oct. 27), as Menlo will lock up with Biola University at 5:00pm.