LAS VEGAS — Ball movement, efficiency and stingy defense traveled well, as No. 15 Saint Mary’s (5-0) prevailed 76-63 over UAB (3-3) at the Orleans Arena Sunday afternoon.
Jock Landale continues his impressive start to the season, scoring 20 points (9 of 11 FG) to go along with eight rebounds in 32 minutes. Emmett Naar, Stefan Gonzalez and Calvin Hermanson each scored 12 points, as the Gaels shot 52% from the field and recorded 20 assists on 27 field goal attempts.
The defense forced the Blazers to shoot 47% and just 4 of 10 from three-point land. Chris Cokley led UAB with an efficient 20 points (10 of 13 FG) and five rebounds.
The Gaels held a 47-23 lead after the first 20 minutes, but UAB opened the second half on a 12-5 run to cut the margin to just nine. The Blazers would go on to shoot 75% in the first six plus minutes of the half to trim the SMC lead to as little as seven. Stefan Gonzalez notched his second three-pointer to bring the lead back to 10, and it was all Saint Mary’s from there.
SMC embarked on an 11-1 run to extend the lead back to as much as 17 with 11 minutes left on the clock. The Blazers continued to fight as the visitors trimmed the deficit to nine with 5:30 remaining. Landale brought the lead back to 13 with a tip-in and an emphatic dunk off a clever pass by Naar. Saint Mary’s never relinquished its lead in the match en route to the 13-point victory.
Saint Mary’s lead by as much as 17 in the opening half. After a 7-0 run by UAB trimmed the lead to 22-19, the Gaels got on a roll on both ends of the floor, sparked by one of Kyle Clark’s two threes at the 7:12 mark.
The Gaels finished the half on a 21-8 run which was created by the defensive intensity. SMC forced UAB to miss nine out of 10 shots during a four-minute stretch that cooled off the Blazers shooting percentage to 44% (12 of 27). In turn, the Gaels continued their efficiency with 14 assists on 15 first-half field goals. SMC converted 15 of 27 field goals to shoot 56% in the first 20 minutes.
Saint Mary’s will be back on the court on Wednesday night (Nov. 30) at Stanford. The match is slated for an 8 p.m. tip, and will be broadcasted live on Pac-12 network.
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