Andres Aguado described his performance Wednesday night as simply a lucky day.
The freshman from Malaga, Spain turned in one of his best statistical efforts of the season, scoring a career-high 26 points to lead the No. 13-ranked Cuesta men’s basketball team to an 81-69 victory over Moorpark at Cuesta Gym.
Aguado, a 6-foot reserve guard who averages 5.9 points per game, made eight 3-pointers on nine attempts, helping the Cougars secure their sixth consecutive victory against Western State Conference opponents.
Sophomore forward Evgeniy Moiseev recorded a double-double with 19 points and 16 rebounds, and point guard Beñat Hevia added 12 points for Cuesta, which improved to 19-6 overall and 6-0 in conference.
“Today, I feel like I couldn’t miss,” Aguado said.
How it happened:
The Cougars were extremely active defensively in the first half and held the visiting Raiders (15-7, 4-2 WSC) to one field goal over the first 8 minutes, 40 seconds of the game.
A Moorpark team that averages more than 77 points per contest — and 83.4 against conference opponents — needed a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to pull within 32-19 at halftime.
They would eventually cut the deficit to single digits in the final minute, though the game was never as close as the final score indicated.
“We’re happy to get this win,” head coach Rusty Blair said.
The Cougars made 13 of their 28 attempts from behind the 3-point line — including eight in the second half to pull away — and shot better than 45 percent from the field for the game.
Jeremiah Gray led Moorpark with 18 points, and Joshua Brooks add 14 in the setback.
What it means:
Cuesta completed an unbeaten run through the first half of conference play and the Cougars hold a two-game lead over Moorpark and Ventura heading into the second portion of the schedule.
Having claimed at least a share of the last two Western State Conference championships, Cuesta appears to be in good position to make a run at a third straight title.
“No team expected to run away with the league,” Blair said. “(Starting) 6-0 was something we didn’t envision because everyone is kind of equal.”
Cuesta begins the second half of its conference schedule against Ventura at 7 p.m. Saturday inside Cuesta Gym.
The Pirates (14-8, 4-2) are coming off an 89-78 victory over Oxnard on Wednesday and hope to pick up some ground in the conference standings with a win Saturday.
When the two teams met back on Jan. 6, Cuesta made two free throws with 3 seconds remaining to secure a 67-65 road victory.
Freshman point guard Karem Ozel turned in one of his best performances of the season that night, recording 24 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals in 37 minutes.
“They’re coming here with a must-win situation,” Blair said.