Game 13: vs. BYU, Thursday, Jan. 5, 8 p.m.
All-time Series: BYU leads, 12-8
Last Meeting: 2/4/16 at BYU (L, 70-59)
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Audio: TuneIn Radio
Live Stats | Buy Tickets
Game 14: at San Francisco, Saturday, Jan. 7, 8 p.m.
War Memorial at the Sobrato Center
All-time Series: San Francisco leads, 99-77
Last Meeting: 2/27/16 at USF (W, 84-72)
TV: CSN Bay Area
Audio: TuneIn Radio
Live Stats | Buy Tickets
Matchup with the Cougars
No. 19/19 Saint Mary’s (12-1, 2-0 WCC) hosts BYU (11-4, 2-0 WCC) for the team’s second conference home match of the season and first game of the new year.
This marks the 21st meeting between the two programs, as the Cougars lead the all-time series, 12-8. Over the last four meetings, each team has won twice with all wins coming at their respective home courts.
Battle of the Bay
After hosting BYU at McKeon Pavilion, the Gaels will cross the San Francisco Bay Bridge, and hike up to the Hilltop to take on San Francisco (11-4, 1-1 WCC). Saturday’s match between the Gaels and Dons will be the 178th meeting as USF holds a 99-77 edge in all-time meetings.
SMC has won 21 of the last 22 matches against the Dons, with its last loss coming on Feb. 20, 2014. Since then, the Gaels have won four straight. The last meeting was especially sweet for SMC as it clinched last season’s West Coast Conference regular season title.
Saint Mary’s is currently holding opponents to just 57.8 points per game. The team is first in the WCC and third in the nation in opponents points per game. Over the first two conference games, the Gaels haven’t let their opponents shoot 45 percent or better (LMU, 35.6 & USD 42.9).
Where the Gaels Rank
The Gaels are currently 1st in the WCC in five statistical categories: Scoring defense (57.8, 3rd NCAA), field goal percentage (.501, 13th NCAA), rebound-margin (9.4, 11th NCAA) free-throw percentage (.760, 26th NCAA) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.6, 10th NCAA). SMC also ranks 2nd in scoring margin (+16.6) and assists (17.7, 20th NCAA).
Jock Landale’s run at five consecutive double-doubles ended after a 14 point, nine rebound performance in the win over San Diego.Prior to that, Landale recorded four straight double-doubles to bring his career total to six.
According to NCAA ranks, Landale ranks 37th in rebounding (9.6), 41st in offensive rebounding (3.2) and 49th in defensive rebounding per game (6.4). The Aussie is also t-44th in the country for double-doubles this season (5).
Keep the Streak Going
The Gaels have been ranked inside the top-25 in both AP and USA Today polls for the ninth consecutive week. This year’s program continues to shatter the previous record for consecutive weeks being ranked. The previous record was five straight weeks during the 2008 and 2012 seasons.
About the Cougars
BYU (11-4, 2-0 WCC) has won four straight games and five of their last six, and have defeated Santa Clara in Provo, 89-59, followed by a come from behind win at LMU, 81-76. The Cougars trailed the Lions by 18 at the half, but pulled through from 20-point efforts by guards Nick Emery and TJ Haws.
The Cougars are led by sophomore forward Eric Mika. The 6-10 big man is averaging 20.2 points per game and 8.9 rebounds. He is second in the WCC in points and rebs per game, and is 10th in FG percentage (52.7 percent). Mika is solid on the defensive end, averaging 1.8 blocks per contest.
Sophomore guard and sharp-shooter Nick Emery is averaging 15.7 points and 3.6 rebounds a game. Emery is fifth in conference with 2.6 three-pointers per game. An active defender, Emery leads the conference with 1.9 steals per game.
Freshman guard TJ Haws is making large contributions for the Cougars, averaging 13.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists.
The high-scoring Cougars average 84.4 points per game (2nd in WCC) and are 2nd in conference field-goal percentage defense (.393).
About the Dons
USF is off to its best 15-game start since the 1999-2000 team was 12-3 after 15 games on the way to a 13-3, 16-game start. The Dons 10 non-conference wins were the most since 2011-12 (10). Dons’ record under Kyle Smith also marks the best start by a USF first-year coach since Pete Barry’s 1980-81 USF team got off to a 13-2 start.
The Gaels will see a familiar face in coach Smith, as he spent nine seasons (2001-10) as an assistant coach under Saint Mary’s head coach Randy Bennett.
Statistically, USF is one of the better shooting programs in the country. The Dons have shot 50 percent or better from the floor in eight games this season. They also rank third in the WCC in field goal pct. at 48.1 percent. USF ranks 20th nationally in three-point field goal percentage (40.3) and also lead the conference and rank 11th nationally in three-pointers made per game (10.2). Four players - Charles Minlend (30), Ronnie Boyce (29), Chase Foster (24) and Jordan Ratinho (25) -- have made 20+ threes this season while a total of seven players have made 10 or more shots from distance.
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