MORAGA, Calif. -- Just two days after nearly completing a landmark comeback against Gonzaga, the Saint Mary's men's basketball team must now refocus for yet another West Coast Conference battle when San Francisco visits on Saturday at 8 p.m.
The game will be televised locally on Comcast SportsNet California, and was moved to 8 p.m. to avoid starting at the same time as the San Francisco 49ers playoff game. Live audio and live stats from the game will also be available on SMCGaels.com.
A limited number of tickets are still available online at SMCGaels.com or through the SMC Athletic Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx
Both the Gaels and the Dons will try to earn a split this week, as each suffered a narrow defeat on Thursday.
For Saint Mary's (12-4, 1-1 WCC), that setback came in the Pacific Northwest at the hands of No. 8-ranked Gonzaga. The Bulldogs jumped out to an 18-point halftime lead, leaving the Gaels in search of some of the same second half magic they called on in beating Harvard.
This time, the comeback fell just a bit short, as a 3-pointer by Matthew Dellavedova that would have tied the score with 6.9 seconds left caught iron but did not fall. Gonzaga iced the game from the free throw line.
In the loss, Stephen Holt showed why WCC coaches voted him an all-conference preseason selection. The Portland, Ore. native tied a career high with 23 points, leading four Gaels in double figures.
For the eighth time in nine games, Beau Levesque finished in double digits scoring. His 14 points against Gonzaga came on a very efficient 5 of 7 shooting, and the Lafayette, Calif. native also grabbed five rebounds before fouling out late.
As has become customary for the Gaels this season, Saint Mary's outrebounded Gonzaga 39-27. Waldow and Mitchell Young tied for top honors with seven rebounds apiece.
Returning to McKeon Pavilion should only prove beneficial for Saint Mary's, as the Gaels remain as strong as ever at home. With an 85-8 mark at home over the last five seasons, the home crowd will again factor as the Gaels try to knock off the Dons.
San Francisco (7-9, 0-3) comes to Moraga looking for its first conference win of the season. Thursday's 70-66 loss to visiting San Diego was the Dons' third eighth setback in the last 10 games.
Like the Gaels, San Francisco will turn to a strong point guard to lead its attack. Cody Doolin has been a standout so far this season, averaging 19 points a game in conference play. Doolin hit that average in the loss to San Diego, finishing with 19 points, five assists and five steals.
Cole Dickerson has been a double-double machine for the Dons this season, and enters Saturday's game averaging 15.6 points and 11.3 rebounds per game.
San Francisco hasn't lacked for competitiveness this season, with seven of the Dons nine losses coming by 10 points or fewer.
The WCC T-Shirt Drive is still underway, and fans attending Saturday's game are encouraged to bring "lightly-worn" shirts to donate in the McKeon Pavilion lobby. The game is also a Gael Force Full Force event, which means if 800 Gael Force members attend the game, t-shirts will be tossed into the crowd.