MBK | No. 13 Gaels Defeat Toreros in Nail Biter, 65-62
Saint Mary's overcame a hot shooting USD squad in the second half to win its 18th straight of the season.
SAN DIEGO -- In another physical battle that went down the wire, No. 13/14 Saint Mary's (23-2, 12-0 WCC) escaped Jenny Craig Pavilion with the narrow 65-62 win over San Diego (15-8, 6-5 WCC) for the program's 18th straight win of the season Saturday evening.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Jock Landale secured his seventh 30-point game of the year after a 34 point night. He tied his career-high with 18 rebounds. The senior finished the game shooting 15-for-22 from the field and also recorded four assists on the evening. Fellow senior Emmett Naar nailed three from beyond the arc and finished with 11 points and seven assists.
- Leading by 12 to start the second half, the Gaels and Toreros exchanged buckets throughout the half as SMC led 53-41 with nine minutes remaining. USD nailed six consecutive shots and held the Gaels without a field-goal for over four minutes to trail 57-52 with less than four minutes left in the game.
- Isaiah Pineiro converted a pair of free-throws to make it a one possession game, 57-54, but Jordan Ford would end the bleeding for SMC with a nifty left-handed layup to push the lead back up to five with two minutes and 10 seconds on the clock. Isaiah Wright would answer right back for the Toreros to make it a two-point deficit, but Landale again finished around the rim to make the advantage, 61-57 with inside a minute remaining.
- With the 61-59 lead, Ford again hit another nail-biter with a floater over the outreached arms of the Toreros defender to push the lead back up to four. Wright would again carry it for USD and hit the three-pointer from the wing to make the Gaels lead just one, 63-62, with 11 seconds left on the clock. At the line with two critical free-throws, Naar would nail both from the charity stripe and clinch the nail-biting win.
- Both teams went up and down the floor in the opening ten minutes, as a Landale trey gave SMC the 17-14 lead midway through the half. The Gaels got off to a slow start in the opening minutes, shooting just 33 percent with four turnovers, but the defense locked down the Toreros without a single field-goal for over 10 and a half minutes.
- A 20-3 run over 10 minutes by Saint Mary's would give the Gaels a 12-point advantage, 29-17 with less than four minutes remaining in the first half. The Gaels defense forced USD to shoot just 33 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes (8-for-24). Despite a slow start, the Gaels would find their groove en route to the 36-24 lead heading into halftime. SMC finished the half shooting 60 percent (15-for-25 FG) as Landale collected his 16th double-double of the season with 18 points and 11 boards in the first half.
- First time in program history Saint Mary's has an overall record 23-2 through 25 games in a season.
- 13 consecutive road wins is the longest in the country.
- The Gaels are one of three teams (Ohio State and Purdue) without a road loss this season.
- Naar set the program record for most assists in a single season with his sixth dime of the night. The senior now has 757 career assists and 225 dimes so far this year.
- Today marked the 86th all-time meeting between Saint Mary's and San Diego (SMC leads all-time series 50-36).
- Saint Mary's has won the last nine meetings versus the Toreros.
- SMC has not lost at San Diego since Jan. 30, 2014.
- 59: Gaels field-goal percentage
- 50: SMC three-point field-goal percentage
- 16: Number of double-doubles this season by Landale
- 21: Games this season where Naar has recorded at least seven assists
- Saint Mary's continues the road trip next week at Loyola Marymount on Thursday, Feb. 8 for a 7 p.m. tipoff.
- Fans can find coverage links on the men's basketball schedule page on SMCGaels.com.
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