Postgame comments from Saint Mary's Head Coach Randy Bennett following the Gaels' 88-73 victory at Drake.
"We played a good team tonight. Drake has been playing well. I was surprised we were able to separate. (Matthew) Dellavedova was tremendous in the first half. He hit some tough shots. He played at a high, high level in the first half. He gave us some space. Then, in the second half (James) Walker and (Beau) Levesque played well. It just seemed like every time we needed to hit a shot, somebody hit one.
"They lost their four-man, Jordan (Clarke). He didn't play much in the second half. I don't know what happened to him. That affected them. I thought we did a good job defensively and I thought we played at a high level offensively. I thought we beat a really good team on the road. If you would tell me that was how it was going to turn out before the game, I would have taken that every single time. I'm a little surprised, to tell you the truth.
"(Drake) did what a lot of teams do (defensively against Dellavedova). They try to make it hard for him to get the ball back and are physical with him. Just try to wear him out. In the first half, he was tremendous. He was the difference in that first half. In the second half, we had some other guys step up. It was nothing new for him.
"I am surprised we won with (Dellavedova) turning it over nine times. I never sub him, so sometimes he gets a little tired. He's better tired than somebody else fresh.
"(Ben) Simons is a good player and we knew that. We tried to limit the number of open looks he got and always identified him in transition and in half court sets. We were lucky he missed some shots. He is a good player and a big part of our focus was taking him off the three.
"It is hard to get away from him. He is strong. He has a very, very high basketball IQ, both offensively and defensively. He is going to know your sets as well as you do. He is hard to get away from. He is strong, hard to beat off the dribble. Everybody notices him for his offense. But, he has turned himself into a really good defender. We put him on the other team's best player almost every game.
"Drake shoots it really well, so we didn't want to give them that. We didn't want to give them transition and we didn't want to give them threes. They hit 10 threes a game and that is top 10 in the country. So, that was our focus - to take those things away. If we had to live with (Seth) VanDeese getting some post-ups and twos over a hand, then we were going to. He is a good player. So, if you can play him one-on-one, he is going to score some. They have a commitment to getting the ball inside to him, which they should. He hurt us a little bit. I just didn't think they were going to beat us with twos. I think they need threes to get you.
"I don't see (all the nation's best point guards). I just focus on our team. I've seen them all in the West. So, I'm not going to say where he (compares). I just know that you are going to have to be a really good guard to be better than him. He is so experience. When you factor in leadership, I don't know if there is one better. He is a tremendous leader. He is a good player. He is a way better defender than people know. He has great vision. But, his best (trait) by far is his leadership. I'm really going to find out if I can coach next year."