IRVINE — Vanguard University Coach Rhett Soliday played and coached at Concordia, so he doesn't need any kind of reminder about the magic the Eagles have had in Golden State Athletic Conference men's basketball action.

And, frankly, he'd just as soon avoid the kind of nostalgia he experienced Tuesday night, when his Lions missed a 17-foot jumper at the buzzer to come up just short, 82-81, at Concordia.

The two teams went back and fourth all night and the lead changed hands six times in the final 1:51.

After Eagles senior Peter Smith banked in a six-foot runner with 11 seconds left, the Lions dribbled into the frontcourt and called timeout with six seconds left.

They ran a play that freed guard Preston Wynne on a curl just beyond the free-throw line. And the junior, who netted four second-half three-pointers and produced 19 of his 22 points after intermission, launched himself upward and finished the shot with a clean release. But it bounded off the rim as time expired to deflate a Vanguard contingent that knew coming in that it had a shot to strike a blow against the perennial GSAC bullies.

"We played hard," Soliday said after accepting congratulations from Concordia Coach Ken Ammann, his friend and mentor. "If you look at it from strictly a basketball standpoint, we didn't get enough stops down stretch and we gave up too many rebounds. We played hard enough to win, but we didn't finish enough plays."

Vanguard sophomore point guard Chris Gorman certainly finished at the start. He made his first six field-goal attempts, missed once, then made five more. He was five for five from three-point range in the first half, when he netted 25 of his team's 38 points. But he made just one field goal after halftime and finished with 27 points. Gorman was 11 for 16 from the field, including five of six from three-point range.

Wynne, who was zero for three from the field until he drained a three-pointer late in the first half, took over for Gorman at the offensive end in the second half. He finished seven for 12 from the field, including five for six from threedom.

Vanguard senior post Ennis Whatley Jr. had 16 points and a team-best seven rebounds in 29 minutes that were limited by foul trouble.

Concordia senior post Dakota Downs amassed 24 points and 15 rebounds to lead the hosts (13-6, 2-3 in conference). But the Eagles also received 17 points from guards Peter Smith and Tim Harris to help them get their first conference home win in two tries this season.

Attacking the basket and the offense glass (to produce a 37-26 rebounding advantage), the Eagles shot 58.1% from the field in the second half (18 for 31) to finish at 52.6% for the game.

Concordia also made 19 of 22 foul shots (86.4%).

Vanguard (13-7, 2-3), which shot 57.1% in the first 20 minutes (16 for 28), finished at 50.8% from the field for the game. The Lions, however, were eight for 13 from the free-throw line (61.5%), worse than they shot from three-point range (64.7% by making 11 of 17).

"It kind of became a shootout, with both teams sticking shots," Soliday said. "I'm proud of my guys, especially [Wynne and Gorman]."

*

Golden State Athletic Conference

Concordia 82, Vanguard 81

VU – Whatley 16, Zaragosa 5, Gorman 29, Wynne 22, Kelly 0, Chaung 4, Myles 3, Diandy 2.

3-pt. goals – Gorman 5, Wynne 5, Zaragosa 1.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.

CU – Downs 24, Hucks 4, Harris 17, Smith 17, Abernathy 0, Rudd 6, Eimpson 4, Hickert 4, Frazier 3, Wilson 3.

3-pt. goals – Harris 1, Wilson 1, Frazier 1.

Fouled out – None.

Technicals – None.

Halftime – VU, 38-37.

barry.faulkner@latimes.com

Twitter: @ BarryFaulkner5