CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - Despite a career-high 26 points from junior Jorden Page, the Saint Mary's men's basketball team dropped an 82-75 contest at Northern Iowa this afternoon.
The Gaels drop to 8-3 on the season, while Northern Iowa improved to 7-5. The Missouri Valley Conference Panthers had four players score in double figures and went 25-of-37 from the free throw line.
The game was originally scheduled to be played on Saturday, but was postponed until today after the Gaels' travel plans were hampered due to a severe winter storm. The team traveled to Waterloo, Iowa on Saturday.
Following a short Christmas break, the Gaels return to action on Thursday, Dec. 27 when they host the University of Rhode Island at McKeon Pavilion. Tickets are available online at SMCGaels.com or through the SMC Athletic Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx. Due to the holiday season, the SMC Athletic Ticket Office will be closed Monday and Tuesday and will reopen Wednesday at 9 a.m.
Page, who scored 13 points in each half, was the only Saint Mary's player to score in double-figures - although 10 different Gaels made at least one basket. Saint Mary's shot 50 percent from the field, but were just 8-of-17 from the free throw line for a season-low 47.1 percent.
Jordan Giusti was a bright spot for Saint Mary's, scoring a career-high eight points - all in the second half - with a block, steal and rebound. He went 3-of-4 from the field and 2-of-3 from the 3-point arc.
After the Gaels jumped out to an early lead to start the game, the Panthers went on an 18-6 run to take an 8-point lead with 8:53 left on the clock.
After the two teams traded baskets, Saint Mary's found its outside shooting touch, connecting on 3-straight three-point field goals and going on a 12-4 run of its own. UNI's Mac Sonnen connected on a 3-pointer with less than five seconds left in the half to give the Panthers a 32-29 halftime lead.
The two teams played even through the first nine minutes of the second half. The Gaels climbed to within one point at 48-47 on a Beau Levesque layup with 11:09 left in the game.
The Panthers responded by outscoring Saint Mary's 10-2 over the next three minutes, then extended their lead to a game-high 15 points with just three minutes remaining. The Gaels were forced to foul late in the game and the Panthers made nine of their 11 free throw attempts in the last 1:21.