Brad Waldow led Saint Mary's (16-6, 6-3 WCC) with 18 points and nine rebounds. He was the lone Gael in double figures Thursday as Saint Mary's shot 25 percent from the floor on just 13 of 52 shooting. Saint Mary's made just 1 of 14 from 3-point range and the 43 points were the least for the Gaels this season. Johnny Dee led San Diego (13-10, 4-6) with 17 points.
Saint Mary's fell behind in the first half due to ice cold shooting from the floor. The Gaels made just five of their first 24 shots from the floor en route to a 26 percent half, giving San Diego the opportunity to build a lead.
Waldow did what he could, scoring 12 points in the half on 5 for 9 shooting but if you took the Gaels' big man out of the equation, the rest of the team combined to shoot 3 for 22. That performance from the floor yielded Saint Mary's lowest-scoring half of the season and sent both teams to the locker room with San Diego leading 29-18.
When presented with the opportunity to hit the boards, Saint Mary's was good early, jumping out to a 16-8 lead on the glass. The Toreros whittled that advantage down by half though, and the Gaels led the rebounding battle by just one (20-19) at the break. The final spread was just as close, with Saint Mary's outrebounding San Diego 38-35.
Saint Mary's showed glimpses of offensive rhythm in early moments of the second half but those moments proved far too fleeting. After falling behind by 18 with just under 16 minutes to play, the Gaels rallied for a few moments, closing the gap to 12 with 10:15 to play after two free throws by Stephen Holt.
San Diego had the answer, wasting no time in pushing the lead to its largest point when two free throws by Chris Sarbaugh made it 52-32 Toreros with 8:45 left. That left Saint Mary's little time to narrow the gap and San Diego was able to ride the advantage out the rest of the way.
Thursday's game represented the front end of a two-game trip for the Gaels, who will board a plane on Friday to head to Utah for Saturday's 8 p.m. (PST) game at BYU. That game will be televised live on ESPN2 and live streaming audio and statistics will be available on SMCGaels.com.
Saint Mary's remains on the road next week for games at Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine before returning home on Feb. 13 to take on San Diego at 8 p.m. Tickets are available by clicking the Tickets link on SMCGaels.com or by calling the SMC Athletic Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx.