MBK | No. 21 Gaels Too Much for Harvard at Wooden Legacy
Jock Landale scored a game-high 26 points to lead the Gaels offense on Thanksgiving day.
FULLERTON, Calif. — No. 21 Saint Mary's (5-0) opened the Wooden Legacy with a hot start, as the Gaels defeated Ivy League favorites Harvard (2-3), 89-71, to advance to tomorrow's semifinals match of the Thanksgiving tournament.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Sophomore guard Jordan Ford led the Gaels in the opening moments of the game with six points for the 9-2 lead at the 17:41 mark. Jock Landale would extend the lead with a thunderous dunk and the successful foul shot for the 10-point advantage, 12-2.
The Gaels extended the margin to 16 with an 11-0 run over a three and a half minute stretch. SMC would force a pair of Crimson turnovers during the hot stretch for five points off of turnovers. Cullen Neal got going early with a deep three-pointer followed by a steal and fast break layup. Junior wing Kyle Clark immediately made his mark on the game with four points during the first major run of the game.
The size and physicality of the Gaels continued to be a handful for the Crimson, as SMC shot the first 13 foul shots of the game. The Gaels defense limited Harvard to just 6-for-18 from the floor in the opening 12 minutes, as SMC charged ahead, 31-13.
SMC shot 50 percent from the floor, as the defense stifled the Crimson offense to just 9-for-33 (27 percent) shooting in the first half.
Leading 46-20 heading into the second half, Saint Mary's saw their lead slowly diminish as Harvard would open the half on a hot 12-0 run to slash the deficit to 14 points, 46-32. During the run, the Crimson forced five uncharacteristic turnovers by the Gaels.
After a called timeout, Emmett Naar finally got the Gaels on the board in the second half with a crafty move to the hole for the and-one finish.
Saint Mary's and Harvard would trade buckets throughout the second half, but increased the lead back to 20 points off a Landale dunk with a hair over 11 minutes to go.
The Crimson continued to chip away at the Gaels lead, cutting it to eight points off five straight converted field goals with 6:23 to go. SMC extended the lead back to 11, 71-60, as Landale converted another strong finish over the Crimson defense.
Naar would score six straight for the Gaels to increase the lead back to 13 points with 90 seconds remaining in the game to seal the deal for the Gaels, 89-71.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
- 30: Season-high bench points for the Gaels.
- 94: Free throw percentage for SMC.
- 39: Total Saint Mary's rebounds.
- 30: Season-high made free throws by SMC.
- Just the second all-time meeting versus the Crimson (Gaels lead series 2-0).
- Ford tied his career-high of 12 points and recorded a career-high nine rebounds.
- Naar set his career-high with nine rebounds.
- The Gaels outrebounded Harvard, 26-13, in the first half and 39-21 for the game.
- SMC shot 13 free throws in the first half and converted 92 percent from the charity stripe (12-of-13).
- Landale has scored double-digits in 12 consecutive games.
- Clark recorded a season-high 31 minutes.
- Dating back to 12/30/13, the Gaels are 83-1 in their last 84 games when shooting better than the opponent (only loss was 3/18/17 versus Arizona).
UP NEXT: SAINT JOSEPH'S or WASHINGTON STATE
- Saint Mary's will play the winning team between Saint Joseph's versus Washington State.
- Tipoff versus either WSU or SJSU is set for 10:30 a.m. PT and can be viewed on ESPNEWS.
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