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Men's Basketball

Menís Basketball Closes 76 Classic on Sunday Against Providence
Release: Monday 11/29/2008 
by SMC Athletics
Patrick Mills and the Gaels will look to improve to 5-1 on Sunday.
Patrick Mills and the Gaels...
Courtesy: Tod Fierner
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Game 6 - 2008 76 Classic
Sunday, November 30
Tip-off:
2:30 PM
Location: Anaheim, CA
Arena: Anaheim Convention Center (8,200)
Television: ESPNU
Commercial Radio: KDIA AM 1640 (Delayed until 3 pm)
Internet Radio: www.SMCGaels.com

THIS WEEK IN SAINT MARY’S BASKETBALL
Following a 79-54 win over Cal State Fullerton on Friday, the Saint Mary’s will play four fourth place in the 76 Classic against the Providence Friars on Sunday afternoon. The game between Saint Mary’s and Providence will tip-off at 2:30 p.m. from the Anaheim Convention Center and will be televised on ESPNU with Steve Physioc and Bob Wenzel calling the action.
    
Following Friday’s win, Saint Mary’s is 4-1 on the season and has a 1-1 record in the 76 Classic. The Gaels opened the year with an 86-55 win over Division II Seattle Pacific, then improved to 2-0 with a 99-85 win over Fresno State, and started 3-0 following an 86-54 win over NAIA Vanguard. After losing to UTEP (75-62) to open the tournament, SMC picked up its fourth win on Friday, defeating CS Fullerton.
    
Providence enters Saturday’s game with a 4-2 overall record, and is 1-1 in the 76 Classic, following a 67-62, come from behind win over Charlotte on Friday night. Providence opened the tournament with a 56-72 loss to Baylor, who is in the championship game of the tournament against No. 19/24 Wake Forest. Providence opened the season with a 70-66 loss to Northeastern, before posting three straight wins over Dartmouth (100-82), Sacred Heart (111-87) and Maine (83-62).

RADIO AND TELEVISION
The Saint Mary’s versus Providence game will be televised on ESPNU with Steve Physioc and Bob Wenzel calling the action. The Saint Mary’s radio broadcast will be available on the commercial station for SMC basketball, KDIA AM 1640, with Mike Bouve calling the action courtside. The broadcast will be available at 3 p.m., and will pick-up the action live and in progress. The free internet broadcast will be available on line through SMCGaels.com or KDIA.com.

SCOUTING THE PROVIDENCE FRIARS
The Providence Friars enter Sunday’s game with a 4-2 overall record following a 67-62 win over Charlotte on Friday night. Providence entered the tournament on a three-game winning streak before losing to Baylor (72-56) to open the tournament.   
    
As a team, the Friars are averaging 80.5 points per game this season, while shooting 43.9 percent from the floor, 29.7 percent from 3-point land, and 65.4 percent from the free throw line. Providence opponents are averaging 72.5 points per game, while shooting 45.6 percent from the field, 40.0 percent from 3-point land, and 69.6 percent from the foul line. The Friars hold a 38.8 to 35.0 advantage on the glass, for a +3.8 rebounding margin.
    
The Friars have four players that average double figures, and their sixth man, Marshon Brooks leads the team with 13.7 points per outing. Brooks as not started a game this season, but averages 23.7 minutes per game in a reserve role. Weyinmi Efujuku averages 13.0 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, while Jonathan Kale and reserve Jeff Xavier average 11.5 and 11.2 points per game, respectively. Geoff McDermott is the team’s leading rebounder at 8.3 boards per game. McDermott also averages 8.8 points per game, which is fifth on the squad and his 17 assists are second on the squad. Sharaud Curry had 29 assists to lead the team.

SMC AGAINST THE BIG EAST
In 17 meetings against teams from the Big East Conference, Saint Mary’s has a 4-14 overall record. In SMC’s most recent match-up against a Big East opponent, the Gaels posted an 85-70 win over Seton Hall in Moraga on Dec. 1, 2007. SMC has Seton Hall the most, and has a 3-2 record against the Pirates. SMC is 0-3 against Marquette, 1-1 against Villanova, 0-2 against both Notre Dame and Rutgers, and 0-1 against Georgetown, St. John’s, and Providence. SMC has never played Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburgh, South Florida, Syracuse or West Virginia.  
 
SMC VERSUS PROVIDENCE: THE SERIES
Sunday’s game between Saint Mary’s and Providence will mark the second ever meeting between the two schools, and first meeting in 44 years. In the only match-up, Providence defeated Saint Mary’s 81-79 in Providence on December 15, 1965.

SERIES BREAKDOWN
Providence Leads; 1-0
LAST GAME: PC 81 - SMC 79 (12.15.65)
SAINT MARY’S RECORD:
IN MORAGA: 0-0
IN PROVIDENCE: 0-1
ON NEUTRAL COURT: 0-0

PATRICK MILLS NAMED WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Patrick Mills was named the WCC Player of the Week, as announced by the conference office on Monday, Nov. 24, for the fourth time in his career. Mills averaged 21.5 points in wins over Fresno State (99-85) and Vanguard (86-54). He was 16-of-31 from the floor, including 5-of-12 from 3-point land, and averaged 3.0 assists and 3.0 steals. The sophomore scored a game-high 27 points against Fresno State, while dishing out five assists and making six steals. Against Vanguard, he scored a game-high 16 points while leading SMC to a 32-point win over the Lions.

SMC IN-SEASON TOURNAMENT RECORD
Following the win to CS Fullerton on Friday, Saint Mary’s has a 68-74 (.495) overall record in 65 in-season tournaments. The Gaels have won 12 tournament titles, including three during the 2007-08 season. Last season, SMC went 2-0 in the Shamrock Invitational, 3-0 in the Rainbow Classic, and 2-0 in the Shamrock Office Solutions Classic. In its last eight in-season tournaments, Saint Mary’s has a 17-1 record and seven tournament titles.

MILLS ON PRESEASON WOODEN TOP-50 LIST
Saint Mary’s sophomore guard Patrick Mills was one of 50 players named to the 2008-09 preseason candidates for the John R. Wooden Award All-American Team and Player of the Year trophy. The list is composed of 50 student athletes who, based on last year’s individual performance and team records, are the early frontrunners for college basketball’s most prestigious honor. The selection of Mills to the preseason Wooden Player of the Year Award list marks the first time that a Saint Mary’s men’s basketball player has made the list.

MILLS RECORDS 11TH CAREER 20-POINT GAME
Twice this season, Patrick Mills has scored over 20 points, and now has 11 career games with at least 20 points. He scored a season-high 27 against Fresno State and has a 21-point performance against CS Fullerton on Friday. Mills, who has played in 37 games at Saint Mary’s, recorded his first 20-point game with a career-high 37 points against Oregon (11.20.07) in just his fourth career game, setting a SMC freshman record.

BENNETT SMC WINS LEADER
With a 4-1 record this season, head coach Randy Bennett has 131 career victories and is the winningest coach at Saint Mary’s. He became the all-time winningest coach at SMC following an 89-65 win over East Tennessee State on Dec. 21, 2007 in the Rainbow Classic.  James Weaver (1955-62) held the record for 45 years with 110 wins in seven seasons. Bennett and Weaver are the only two coaches in school history to record 100 or more victories.

SMC IN AP AND COACHES POLLS
Saint Mary’s received 43 votes and is currently ranked 27th in the country in this week’s ESPN/USA Today’s Coaches Poll. In the Associated Press Poll, Saint Mary’s received 111 votes and is ranked 28th overall. SMC has received votes in all three weeks this season. Last season the Gaels were ranked in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll eight weeks, and were ranked in the top-25 five consecutive weeks. SMC was ranked a school record six weeks in AP poll, and the five consecutive weeks in the poll from Jan. 28 to Feb. 25 is also a school record. Last season Saint Mary’s received votes in both polls for 17 straight weeks.

SAMHAN CLOSING IN ON 500 REBOUNDS
In 69 career games, Omar Samhan had collected 462 rebounds.  He is 38 boards shy of becoming the school’s 26th player to eclipse the 500-rebound mark. For his career, Samhan is averaging 6.7 rebounds per game.

MILLS AND HUGHES AMONG NATION’S BEST IN STEALS
Guards Patrick Mills and Carlin Hughes rank in the top 50 in the country in steals per game. Mills, who leads the team with 14 steals, ranks 27th in the nation with 2.8 steals per game. Hughes, who is second at SMC and in the WCC with 13 steals, averages 2.6 steals per game to rank 39th overall in the country. As a team, SMC has 55 steals to average 11.0 steals per game. The 55 total steals ranks 19th in the country, while the 11.0 steals per game ranks 12th in the nation.

THE AUSSIE LINE-UP
This season Saint Mary’s has five Australian players available to play, the most in any year for Saint Mary’s. Currently, the Aussie contingent as averaging a combined  38.4 points per game, with Patrick Mills scoring a team-leading 19.0 points per outing. The 38.4 points per game is 46.6 percent of the scoring for the team this season.

SMC’S 70-POINT SHOW
Last season Saint Mary’s scored more than 70 points 20 times, over 80 points 12 times, hit the 90-point mark four times, and reached 100 points once. When the Gaels scored 70 or more points, SMC was 19-1 last season. SMC has scored over 70 in four games this season, and has a 4-0 record. SMC has posted a 34-6 record  in the last 40 games when scoring 70 or more points.

SAMHAN GETS 11TH CAREER DOUBLE-DOUBLE
Omar Samhan had 14 points and a season-high 14 rebounds against CS Fullerton for his third double-double of the season and 11th of his career. Last season, Samhan recorded six double-doubles, after having just two as a freshman.

NEXT WEEK IN GAELS HOOPS
Following the 2008 76 Classic, Saint Mary’s will travel to Kent, Ohio to compete in its first true road game of the season. The Gaels will take on the Kent State Golden Flashes on Thursday, Dec. 4. The game against Kent State is the return game from last season’s ESPNU BracketBusters game, in which KSU defeated the Gaels 65-57 in Moraga. The game will tip off at 4 p.m. Pacific Time from the MAC Center.