MORAGA, Calif. -- The Saint Mary's men's basketball hits the road this week for its second trip in as many weeks as the Gaels get set for key West Coast Conference matchups against Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine.
The week begins in Los Angeles on Thursday at 8 p.m. with a trip to Gersten Pavilion to take on LMU. That game will be televised live in by Comcast SportsNet California, Time Warner Cable SportsNet, ROOT Sports Northwest and Rocky Mountain and streamed live online in all other areas by TheW.TV.
Saturday brings a trip to Malibu and a matinee inside Firestone Fieldhouse when the Gaels face Pepperdine at 1 p.m. The game will be televised by all the same outlets as the Loyola Marymount game and live audio and statistics for both games will be available on SMCGaels.com.
Saint Mary's enters action this week with a 16-7 overall record and 6-4 mark in the WCC. The Gaels hit the road for their second straight pair of road games on the heels of a tough trip last week. San Diego bested the Gaels by the final of 61-43 before BYU scored an 84-71 win over SMC in front of a raucous Marriott Center crowd of almost 18,000 fans.
Both games featured stretches of good play for the Gaels, but those flashes weren't sustained for long enough to turn the tables in Saint Mary's favor. Perhaps the best period of play came in the first half at BYU when Saint Mary's outscored the Cougars 22-12 in the paint en route to a 38-37 halftime lead.
In both games, Brad Waldow remained the focal point for the Saint Mary's offense. He was the only Gael to finish in double figures at San Diego, scoring 18 points on 6 of 12 shooting from the floor. At BYU, he did a good chunk of his damage from the free throw line, going 11 for 18 from the stripe to finish with 25 points. The junior from Shingle Springs, Calif. now averages 17.1 points per game, which ties him for third in the conference in scoring with San Diego's Johnny Dee.
Another bright spot on last week's trip was the play of freshman Dane Pineau. The 6-foot-9 forward from Melbourne, Australia came off the bench to hit Saint Mary's lone 3-pointer of the San Diego game, then made his first collegiate start at BYU and scored a career-high nine points to go with four rebounds.
Loyola Marymount enters the week at 11-12 overall and 3-8 in the WCC. The Lions have dropped eight of their last nine, with the lone win coming in a 92-81 win at Pacific on Jan. 23.
The last time LMU played, it fell 80-69 in a visit to rival Pepperdine. The loss was still notable for the Lions though as star point guard Anthony Ireland scored 24 points and in the process surpassed the 2,000-point mark for his career. The product of Waterbury, Conn. is the WCC's second-leading scorer this season at an average of 18.8 points per game.
The Gaels and Lions locked horns two weeks ago at McKeon Pavilion, with Saint Mary's jumping out to a big early lead before coasting to a 89-61 win. Waldow picked up the double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds in the win and the backcourt duo of Kerry Carter and Jordan Giusti each chipped in with 15 points to help lead the Gaels.
Pepperdine enters Thursday's game against Pacific with a 13-10 overall record and a 6-5 mark in conference play. The Waves snapped a brief two-game skid with their win over Loyola Marymount on Saturday, and currently sit in fifth in the WCC standings, half a game behind the Gaels.
The win over LMU featured a host of players getting on the scoreheet for Pepperdine. Five Waves finished in double figures, led by guard Malcolm Brooks with 16 points. Jett Raines had 15, Stacy Davis added 12 and Brendan Lane and Nikolas Skouen each finished with 10 in the victory. Pepperdine also outrebounded the Lions 41-29.
Davis and Lane have formed one of the conference's top frontcourt duos this season, with Davis leading the team in both scoring (14.6 ppg) and rebounding (7.7) and Lane not far behind with averages of 13.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. Where the Waves have struggled this season is in the turnover department, as they rank last in the conference in turnover margin at -1.91 per game.
Saint Mary's had to fight for its win against Pepperdine two weeks ago, edging the Waves with a 80-74 victory at McKeon Pavilion. Four Gaels finished in double figures that day, led by Waldow with 21. Stephen Holt added 20, Carter scored 18 and Beau Levesque chipped in with 13. Lane led the Waves with 18.
After completing their four-game road stretch this week, the Gaels return to the friendly confines of McKeon Pavilion next week for games against San Diego and BYU. The Toreros visit on Feb. 13 for an 8 p.m. game and the Cougars come to town Saturday for a 5 p.m. tip. Thursday's game against San Diego will be televised by ESPNU while Saturday's game against BYU will be live on ESPN2. Tickets to both contests are available by clicking the Tickets link on SMCGaels.com or by calling the SMC Athletic Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx.