PORTLAND, Ore. — Saint Mary’s (15-1, 5-0 WCC) had no trouble handling the Pilots on Thursday night as they routed Portland 74-33 on the road at the Earl. A Chiles Center. The 41-point win marked the Gaels’ biggest margin of victory since defeating Southern Utah by 56 on Dec. 16, 2015.
Calvin Hermanson caught fire for the Gaels early on and set a new career-high with 27 points in the game. Hermanson, who is from nearby Lake Oswego in Oregon, shouldered the load for the Gaels going 10-for-16 from the field including 5-for-10 from three point land in only 23 minutes of play.
“[Calvin] played at a really high level tonight,” said Gaels’ head coach Randy Bennett. “He didn’t play much last game because of foul trouble so I think he didn’t want that to be a case again and he played well. It’s fun to watch him play like that.”
“Hitting those first two three-pointers was huge for me,” said Hermanson on his career-night performance. “Even tonight, I was getting great looks cutting backdoor for those lay-ups.”
The Gaels’ stingy defense shut down the Pilots, holding Portland (9-7, 2-2 WCC) to shooting just 25 percent from the field and 2-for-9 from behind the arc. Saint Mary’s also dominated the Pilots along the boards, 50-16, with both Jock Landale (10) and Dane Pineau (10) achieving double-digits rebounds.
The last time the Gaels allowed 33 or fewer points came on Nov. 24, 2002 when Saint Mary’s downed Holy Names 78-33.
“I think we did a great job defensively, especially on [Alec] Wintering and [Jazz] Johnson,” said Bennett. “Probably the best game we’ve played for 40 minutes.”
Saint Mary’s finished the night shooting 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from the three-point mark. Landale and Evan Fitzner were the other leading scorers for the Gaels with eight points a piece while Emmett Naar and Joe Rahon each tallied five assists in the win.
Saint Mary’s will head to Spokane on Saturday to face their toughest opponent of the year and biggest conference rival in No. 5 Gonzaga. Last year, the Gaels took both games from the Bulldogs during the regular season including a 63-58 win in Spokane. The matchup will be nationally televised on ESPN2 at 7 PM and additionally broadcasted on TuneIn Radio.
The red-hot shooting Gaels started the game on fire as the team shot 6-for-9 from the field in the opening 5:41 to lead 14-2 over the Pilots. Leading 17-2, Hermanson found a rhythm, as the junior recorded 12 straight points for the Gaels in a little over a three minute stretch. The 6-6 forward notched an impressive 17 points in the opening half.
Up big, 29-6, the Gaels offense came down-to-earth, but a Tanner Krebs corner trey got the train rolling again for SMC. Fitzner followed the act with a three-pointer of his own, and a Jordan Hunter baby hook gave the Gaels the 37-9 lead heading into the locker rooms.
Despite shooting below its season average in the first-half, SMC forced the Pilots to just 4-for-21 (19 percent) from the field in the opening half. Using their size inside as a large advantage, the Gaels outrebounded Portland, 28-7, and 10-1 on the offensive glass during the opening half.
SUPPORT THE GAELS
A gift to the Gael Athletic Fund directly benefits Saint Mary's student-athletes, allowing them the opportunity to attain an education guided by our Catholic, Lasallian and Liberal Arts traditions. Click the link for more information.
FOLLOW THE GAELS
@SMCGaels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) SMC_Gaels (Snapchat)