Game 33: vs University of Arizona, Saturday, March 18, 4:45 p.m. PT
Vivint Smart Home Arena
All-time Series: 2-4
Last Meeting: 12/10/05 at Arizona (L, 75-61)
TV: CBS (Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas, Jamie Erdahl)
Stream: NCAA March Madness Live
Audio: Sirius 126, SiriusXM 198
SMC Record: 29-4, 16-2 (2nd in WCC)
Arizona Record: 31-4, 16-2 (1st in Pac-12)
Marching into Rd. of 32
Saint Mary’s (29-4, 16-2 WCC) won its fifth NCAA Tournament game in program history in last night’s win over VCU. The Gaels will now take on No. 2-seed Arizona in the Rd. of 32. The Wildcats defeated North Dakota, 100-82. SMC has not defeated Arizona since 1951.
The Gaels reached the finals of the WCC Championship after dismantling Portland, 81-58, and BYU, 81-50. SMC fell to top-seed Gonzaga 74-56.
Arizona won the Pac-12 Championship, defeating Colorado (92-79), No. 3/3 UCLA (86-75) and No. 5/5 Oregon in the championship, 83-80.
Saint Mary’s is 1-0 versus the Pac-12 this year, defeating Stanford at Maples Pavilion, 65-51.
Program Record in NCAA Tourney Performance
Saint Mary’s shot 55.6 percent from the floor in yesterday’s win over the Rams. The Gaels put up 85 points, which marks the most points scored in a NCAA Tournament game in program history. The win was the first since 2013 when the Gaels defeated Middle Tennessee State, 67-54.
NCAA Tournament Record
This is the ninth appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and the Gaels hold an all
time record, 5-8.
Too Much for the Rams
Saint Mary’s shot lights-out, totaling 56 percent on 25-for-45 from the floor. The Gaels shot 35 percent from beyond the arc and led for a total time of 31:42.
The Gaels had five players score in double-figures. Jock Landale collected his 16th double-double of the season with an 18-point, 13 rebound performance. The big man played a career-high in minutes (40). Calvin Hermanson got things going, ending up with 16 points and 3-of-5 from three-point land.
Senior Joe Rahon battled through foul-trouble, but ended up with 16 points. Emmett Naar nailed 7-of-8 free-throws en route to a 13-point, six assist performance. Coming off the bench, Tanner Krebs played big-time for the Gaels adding 12 points and five rebounds.
How the Gaels Got Here
Finishing with a 26-3 overall record in the regular season, the Gaels claimed the highest win-percentage for the reguar season in program history. The total surpasses the 1988-89 team record of 25-5.
The 16 conference wins also marks the most ever WCC wins in a single season. The Gaels notched 15 in 2015-16 for the previous record.
All-Conference Award Winners
The Gaels have three All-WCC First Team winners for the first time since 2010-11 (Dellavedova, McConnell & Rob Jones). This year, guard Joe Rahon, forward Calvin Hermanson and center Jock Landale were named first team.
This is Rahon’s second straight season being named to the first team, as it is the first for Hermanson and
Landale. Last year’s first team member Emmett Naar was named an honorable mention.
Dancing to the Music
Saint Mary’s will be dancing in March Madness for the fifth time in the past 10 seasons. The last time the team received an At-Large bid was in 2012-13 where the Gaels defeated Middle Tennessee State, 67-54 in the play-in game. The 11th-seed back then, SMC would then lose a close one, 54-52 versus No. 6 Memphis.
The guard trio of Rawle Alkins (five assists), Parker Jackson-Cartwright (four assists) and Allonzo Trier(three assists) combined for 12 assists to just three turnovers in Thursday’s win.
UA has held the lead for over 29 minutes in each game of its current five-game win streak. In those five games, the Wildcats have led for 164:26, trailed for 24:20 and been tied for 11:14. Arizona’s 164 minutes and 26 seconds with a lead accounts for 82.2 percent of those 200 minutes of action.
The Wildcats are 7-2 at a neutral site this season, including five consecutive wins. The program is 41-19 (.683) in neutral site locations under head coach Sean Miller. Rawle Alkins played his best game in an Arizona uniform in Thursday’s win. The freshman scored a season-best 20 points while connecting on all eight of his shot attempts from the field as well as sinking both of his free throw attempts.
The Brooklyn native’s perfect shooting from the field was the best shooting percentage by a Wildcat this season with a minimum of eight attempts. Alkins also dished out five assists with no turnovers. He and Lauri Markkanen, who also scored 20 points, shot a combined 16 of 20 (.800) from the field.
Arizona’s 31 wins this season mark the seventh season of 30 or more wins in program season with four of those 30-win seasons coming in the last seven years.
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