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MBK | Gaels Open Season With Win over Saint Francis

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MORAGA, Calif. — No. 22 Saint Mary’s showcased its classic offensive efficiency on opening night as the Gaels powered past Saint Francis, 85-68, to open the new season in front of a large crowd at McKeon Pavilion Saturday evening.

Saint Mary’s and Saint Francis both started hot from the floor. The two combined for 11-of-15 shooting within the first 5:07 of the game. Center Jock Landale started the game a perfect 3-for-3 from the floor with seven points.

During an 8-2 run for the Gaels, the Red Flash went cold, shooting 0-for-5 from the floor. With the 22-18 lead, Saint Mary’s went on another 8-2 run fueled by back-to-back treys from Tanner Krebs and Calvin Hermanson, as the Gaels claimed the 30-20 lead with 8:31 to go in the opening half.

The Red Flash would fight back with a 9-0 run in just over a minute with three consecutive three-pointers. The Gaels finally killed the run as Evan Fitzner got a putback layup to put SMC up, 32-29.

Saint Mary’s led the Red Flash 46-36 at halftime on 50 percent shooting from the field. The Gaels never trailed in the opening half and recorded 12 assists on their 19 baskets.

Calvin Hermanson led all Gael scorers in the first half with 16 points on 6-of-6 shooting and also grabbed four boards. The Lake Oswego, Ore. native averaged 13.1 points last season for Saint Mary’s.

The Gaels would lead by double-digits the entire second half, shooting 59.3 percent from the floor while limiting the Red Flash to just 22 field goal attempts and five turnovers.

With under nine minutes to play in the second half, redshirt freshman Elijah Thomas energized the Gaels’ fanbase with back-to-back threes to put Saint Mary’s up 72-52.

At 3:50 left in the final half, Evan Fitzner hit his second trey to give the Gaels’ their largest lead of the night at 22. Fitzner finished the contest with 10 points.

  • 12: Senior guard Emmett Naar set a new career-high with 12 assists in the win. 
  • 14: The Gaels grabbed 14 more rebounds than Saint Francis, 36-22. 
  • 24: Hermanson led all players with 24 points, just shy of his career-high 27. He finished the night 9-for-10 from the field and 5-of-6 from three point range. 
  • 46: Saint Mary’s shot 46 percent from beyond the arc on 26 total attempts. 
  • 85: The Gaels scored 85 or more points three times last season. 

  • Q: On if he knew he was 9-9 from the field to start the game...
  • Hermanson: “I wasn’t keeping track so I probably fall under the category of not really knowing. I was just trying to shoot the best shot for us on offense and trying to find the open man. Tonight I hit shots, it could be any of us the next night.” 
  • Q: On the excitement of playing the first game after eight months off...
  • Hermanson: “Man, we were excited. Everyone was excited to play against someone other than ourselves. We’ve been beating ourselves up so it was nice to go out there and put on a good show for everybody and get a win.”
  • Read the full set of quotes from tonight’s game by clicking HERE.

  • Naar’s 12 assists were more than the team total of Saint Francis (8). 
  • Sophomore Jordan Ford made his first career start for the Gaels and scored six points in the win. 
  • Also making their first career appearances were redshirt freshmen Elijah Thomas, Jock Perry, and Tommy Kuhse. Thomas led the bunch with six points in 12 minutes.
  • Today marked the 16th consecutive season opening win for Saint Mary’s.
  • SMC has won their last 24 matches versus unranked opponents. 
  • Jamaal King led the Red Flash with 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting. 

  • The Gaels continue their homestand on Monday as they host New Mexico State. 
  • Tip-off will be at 7 p.m. and the game can be watched on the Comcast Hometown Network. 
  • Tickets can be purchased online by clicking HERE or by calling the Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx. 
  • Saint Mary’s is 4-1 all-time versus the Aggies and has won the last four meetings. 



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