PROVO, Utah — In a much anticipated West Coast Conference battle, No. 22 Saint Mary’s (24-3, 14-2 WCC) snapped its three-game losing streak at the Marriott Center with an impressive 70-57 victory over BYU (19-10, 10-6 WCC) Saturday night.
The win secures the regular season sweep over the Cougars, the first time since the 2012-13 season. Tonight’s victory also marks the lowest point total for BYU in any game since the two programs met in February of 2013 (Gaels win, 64-57).
Jock Landale played a season-low 14 minutes due to early foul trouble. The adversity did not matter, as the Gaels picked it up from its entire roster. Calvin Hermanson led all scorers with 17 points (5-for-12 FG) and a season-high six boards.
Evan Fitzner continues to come strong, as the 6-10 sophomore scored a season-high 15 points to go along with six rebounds and an assist. Emmett Naar scored eight points, but continued to dish out the assists with eight tonight. Backcourt teammate Joe Rahon again played a solid game, with nine points, three boards and five assists.
Saint Mary’s finished the game with a large 14-3 advantage in bench points, as the Gaels showcased their depth over the Cougars.
Sophomore standout Eric Mika led BYU with 18 points and just five rebounds as the Gaels excelled at blocking out the big man. The Cougars shot just 40 percent (23-for-58 FG) from their home court.
Saint Mary’s will conclude the final week of the regular season with a split, as the Gaels will travel to Malibu to take on Pepperdine Thursday night. SMC will then host its senior night honoring Joe Rahon and Dane Pineau at McKeon Pavilion Saturday, Feb. 25 at 7 p.m versus Bay Area rival Santa Clara.
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). Fans can also catch the action live on the Saint Mary’s IMG Sports Network on TuneIn.
Leading by 10, 48-38 at the 15:33 mark in the second half, Saint Mary’s embarked on a 14-2 run to roll to a 62-40 advantage. After a Hermanson jumper, Fitzner continued his strong attack with a drive and three-pointer for a quick five points. Hermanson then followed suit with his fourth trey of the game.
The Cougars would end the game on a 13-1 run, but the effort was too late, as Saint Mary’s never relinquished its lead en route to the 13-point victory.
Leading 20-17 with 10:19 on the clock, Tanner Krebs and Hermanson knocked down back-to-back three-pointers to quickly take the nine point advantage in the first half.
After a quick 5-0 run by BYU, Hermanson quickly silenced the crowd inside the Marriott Center after nailing his third trey of the game with 5:53 left in the opening half- extending the lead to 29-23.
With Landale and Pineau picking up their second fouls early in the game, Jordan Hunter continued his clutch play with five points and three rebounds in eight minutes of action.
In a contrast of styles which saw a run and gun Cougars offense and a patient Gaels attack, Saint Mary’s opened the game shooting an efficient 57 percent (16-for-28 FG) from the floor to take the 11 point lead into the locker rooms, 41-30.
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