MORAGA, Calif. -- That the Saint Mary's men's basketball team managed to leave Utah State with a win on Thursday was, in itself, impressive.
Count Brad Waldow as one Gael who felt there was definite room for improvement.
After the Aggies compiled a decided edge over Saint Mary's on the boards, Waldow and company came back with a strong effort Sunday, outrebounding Eastern Washington 42-34 en route to a 85-66 victory on the scoreboard.
The sophomore from Shingle Springs, Calif. played a big part in that success, scoring a team-high 16 points to go with six rebounds.
That he was able to put up big numbers Sunday wasn't due just to Waldow's own adjustments. Instead, the Gaels big men put their heads together, both during the Utah State game and afterwards.
"The four or five bigs had a meeting and talked about how we needed to pick it up on the boards," Waldow said. "We can't have people doubting our bigs, so we need to make a statement every night."
That collective effort certainly showed through. Matt Hodgson chipped in with six rebounds, Mitchell Young added five and the Gaels guards got in the act, with Matthew Dellavedova adding six and Jorden Page grabbing five.
And, as Saint Mary's fought to find a rhythm offensively in the early stages of Sunday's game, Waldow was the equalizer down low. He scored 10 points in the first half, most coming on putback opportunities, and kept the Gaels within reach of the hot-shooting Eagles.
"I thought Brad had a nice bounce back. I don't think he played particularly well at Utah State," Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said. "Brad's got some pride, and he took it to heart. He was playing against a good player tonight. (Martin) Seiferth is going to be a really good player. He knew he had to go against a good player tonight, and as he's always done, he responded the right way."
The improvment shown Sunday will need to continue if Saint Mary's wants to be successful at the Anaheim Classic later this week. First comes a tough test against Drexel, and physical play down low will certainly be necessary if the Gaels want to start the tournament with a win.
"I'm really excited," Waldow said. "I can't wait to get down there."