STANFORD, Calif. — No. 12 Saint Mary’s (6-0) trailed at the half for the first time this season, but Calvin Hermanson poured in new career-highs to help the Gaels score 40 second half points in the 66-51 victory over Bay Area rival Stanford at Maples Pavilion.
Hermanson had an outstanding night for the Gaels, cashing in on 25 points, including seven made three pointers for new career highs. The junior was 6 for 6 from the field in a heroic second half, including 5 for 5 from three-point land.
“The guys did a good job finding me open and I just happened to nail down the shots,” said Hermanson. “We have a lot of great shooters. A lot of guys can knock down shots, and I just got the high end tonight.”
A 12-0 run for the Gaels to begin the second half would make all the difference as they overtook Stanford (6-2) and never looked back. Saint Mary’s led for the final 18:14 of the game and shot a sterling 64 percent from the field in the last half en route to their sixth win of the season.
Helping out on offense for the Gaels were Emmett Naar, who recorded five points and eight assists, and Jock Landale, who scored 13 points and was a perfect 6 for 6 from two-point range. Naar entered tonight’s action averaging 7.6 assists per game, good for fourth in the nation and Landale ranked 6th among shooters in field goal percentage.
Joe Rahon chipped in with 10 points, six assists and four rebounds as he played the full 40 minutes. Tonight’s game marks the fourth time in six games that Rahon has played the entirety of the match.
The Gaels will play their next game at home against UT Arlington on Thursday, December 8th at 7 p.m. For tickets, visit the tickets link on SMCGaels.com or by calling the SMC Athletic Ticket Office during weekday business hours at (925) 631-GoTx (4689). Viewers can also catch the action live through Gael Vision and on the TuneIn app.
Stanford was led on offense by senior center Grant Verhoeven who tallied 12 points in just 16 minutes off the bench. Guard Robert Cartwright also scored 10 points and collected three assists while coming off the bench. The Cardinal bench outscored their own starters 30-21 in the loss.
The Gaels defense may have been the underlying key to tonight’s victory, as the team forced the Cardinal to shoot only 21 for 55 for the game (38.2%). The second half defense sparked the dominating performance, as Stanford converted just 8 of 29 shots (27.6%) in the last 20 minutes.
Junior Guard Dorian Pickens averages 15.4 points per game, but Hermanson and the team played tight, and forced the 6-5 player to just two points on 0 for 4 shooting.
“Just do my assignment and I knew he is a really good shooter,” said Hermanson on the task of guarding Pickens. He’s their guy they look for to shoot threes and just wanted to limit his shots. I was trying to make sure if he got off a shot, that it was going to be a tough one. [Evan] Fitzner did a great job showing on the screens tonight so it made it a lot easier on me.”
“Calvin did a real good job tonight as he had the assignment on Pickens tonight,” said Saint Mary’s head coach Randy Bennett. “I don’t think Dorian got any clean shots tonight, and he was only able to take four of them. Dane Pineau did a super job on Travis [Reid] and those were the two guys we needed to do a good job on. We didn’t let the other guys hurt us much and they only shot 28% in the second half, so those were the keys to the game.”
Saint Mary’s continued to display their excellent ball movement, a staple of head coach Randy Bennett’s offense, against Stanford’s defense in the win. The Gaels recorded 21 assists on 27 field goals on the night, including 13 second-half dimes that helped fuel the comeback. Saint Mary’s entered tonight’s game leading the nation in assist to turnover ratio and seventh in assists per game.
The Gaels offense took advantage of nine Stanford turnovers, outscoring the Cardinal 15-4 in points off turnovers during the game.
Saint Mary’s trailed for over 16 minutes in the first half as Stanford led 30-26 at the break. Despite being 8 for 10 in two-point field goals, the Gaels only shot 3 for 14 shooting from beyond the arc in the opening half.
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