MALIBU, Calif. — Despite a brief power outage which postponed play at the start of the second half, the Saint Mary’s men’s basketball team continued its dominance Thursday night, as the team delivered another defensive gem to defeat Pepperdine 78-49 at the Firestone Fieldhouse.
Jock Landale delivered a big time performance, collecting his 13th double-double of the year with 23 points and 14 rebounds. Junior forward Calvin Hermanson recorded his third straight game with double-figure scoring (13 points) to go along with five rebounds and two assists.
The starting backcourt of Joe Rahon and Emmett Naar combined for 14 assists. Evan Fitzner continued his strong performance with a near double-double of his own with nine points and eight boards.
It was all Saint Mary’s as the Gaels shot 52 percent percent from the floor. SMC outrebounded the Waves 47-29 in the paint and held the 44-16 advantage inside the paint.
The Waves shot just 29 percent from the floor and just 4-for-19 from three-point land. 49 points ties the season-low from the Waves offense.
The Gaels return back to McKeon for the final time Saturday night to host Bay Area rival Santa Clara. SMC will have an eventful day, honoring its two seniors Rahon and Dane Pineau before tipoff. The Gaels will then honor the NCAA tournament team from 1996-97 during a halftime presentation.
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 SMCGaels.com and on the Saint Mary’s IMG Sports Network on TuneIn.
Landale opened the second half lights out, as the big man delivered the first 11 points of the half for the nationally-ranked Gaels.
Leading 50-33 with 13:33 remaining, Rahon scored six straight to regain the 21-point advantage.
The Gaels then embarked on a furious 11-2 run to extend its lead to 61-35 with 10:30 to go. Hermanson drained another three-pointer from the wing which was followed by a thunderous slam by Landale.
Saint Mary’s lead would extend to as much as 32 late in the game.
The Gaels defense, which is first in the WCC and second in the nation in opponent points per game (56.3), shut the Waves out in the opening 20 minutes. SMC forced Pepperdine to shoot just 30 percent from the floor and a low eight percent on 1-for-12 from beyond the arc.
SMC jumped out to a 22-7 lead in the first eight minutes of the match. With a little over a minute remaining, the Gaels claimed a 36-19 lead off a trademark three-pointer by Hermanson and went back to the locker room with the 37-21 lead.
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