MORAGA, Calif. -- There won't be much time for most of the newest Saint Mary's men's basketball players to feel their way through the first few weeks of the 2013-14 season.
A few of those newcomers found that out Friday as the Gaels defeated Louisiana Tech 83-70 in front of a loud opening-night crowd at McKeon Pavilion.
To their credit, there was no deer in the headlights type look from those players making their first appearances. First off the bench was forward Garrett Jackson, as the USC transfer made his first appearance in a Saint Mary's uniform after sitting out last season.
Next off the bench was junior college transfer Kerry Carter, who came to Moraga after starring at Citrus College in Southern California. Forward Dane Pineau checked in midway through the first half, as the Australian made his debut as a true freshman. And Treaven Duffy checked in for his first appearance with time winding down late in the game.
None of the newcomers lit up the stat sheet, but they did enough to cement their status as key contributors for the season to come.
"I didn't think any of them were great but I thought they all contributed and made positive plays," Bennett said. "I think their best days are coming."
The game was especially meaningful for Jackson, who spent all of last year waiting to hear his name called over the McKeon Pavilion public address system. He bided his time, learned the system and finally got a chance to show his game Friday, finishing with five points.
"I was really excited to finally get out there with my teammates. It's been a while. I've been waiting for this for a year and some change," Jackson said. "Just preparing and trying to get comfortable with this system. What Coach B wants and what they want from me as a player and a teammate. That's what I've been doing all year."
What started Friday as a first game will only continue to grow in importance as each new player learns his role on a new team.
The main takeaway from the win over Louisiana Tech? The newest Gaels won't shy away from a challenge.