Coming into Tuesday night’s contest with Patterson at the Dalben Center, East Union knew that it would have to compete with the Tigers’ impressive size and athleticism.
Although the Lancers played well on the offensive end in the first half, led most of the way by T.J. Brown’s 16 points, East Union struggled with rebounding and defense and trailed from wire to wire in a 69-44 loss.
“We didn’t stop them from scoring in the first half,” EU head coach Eric Simoni said. “We scored some points, but they put up 40, so I wasn’t happy with the defense.
“We didn’t establish that we could stop them from scoring and they continued it in the second half.”
Brown scored seven in the first half, starting with a steal plus a layup to make it 5-4, Patterson, early, then followed it up with five straight points in the second quarter to pull the Lancers within five at 27-22.
But thanks to a number of second-chance opportunities, Patterson started to pull away at that point and took a 40-29 lead into the break.
“The thing that was most glaring was our effort on the boards,” Simoni said. “They had about 25 offensive rebounds, and at halftime, 15 of their 40 came from us not rebounding.
“That was the key aspect of the game.”
East Union’s struggles continued in the third, as it took nearly four minutes for Brown to score the Lancers’ first points, again off a steal turned into a layup.
EU managed just seven in the third, and eight in the fourth, but played hard until the final buzzer.
Larry Molina chipped in with nine points, while Ken Martinez and Jonathan Jackson both scored five.
“T.J. Brown played well,” Simoni said. “I like the fact that even though the score was lopsided in the second half, we still played hard. Two weeks ago, that wouldn’t have happened, so I think we’re headed in the right direction.”
Patterson was led by Kent Foster’s 20 and Daniel Reza’s 19.
The Lancers host Bear Creek Friday night.
Gardner finished with 23, while Ernie Pimentel hit for 15.
Gerry Cooper had 12 and Nick Scheible, hampered by foul trouble, contributed 11.
“We started with a 20-8 lead in the first quarter,” Manteca head coach Dave Asuncion said. “But we had a tough time stopping Marcus Beaird (28 points). We had a chance to put them away but we let them hang around.
“Kiwi just took over in the fourth, not only scoring but finding the open guys for easy looks.”
The Buffs led 37-28 at halftime.
Manteca (7-1) kicks off the Tracy Winter Holiday Classic today at West High with a 3 p.m. tip against Franklin.