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Men's Basketball Win Rainbow Classic Title With 70-63 Win Over Ohio

Dec. 23, 2007

Box Score

Honolulu, HI - In its first ever trip to the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic, Saint Mary's posted a 70-63 win over the Ohio Bobcats to capture the tournament title. Patrick Mills, who was named the tournament Most Valuable Player, led the Gaels with 23 points and played the entire 40 minutes against Ohio. Mills helped SMC finish the eight-team tournament with a 3-0 record, while averaged 19.0 points in the tournament

On a night when free throw shooting was a struggle for Saint Mary's, the Gaels made 6-of-8 free throws in the final 1:28 to keep the Bobcats at bay, and a dunk by Diamon Simpson, who was named to the all-tournament team, with three seconds left, put the exclamation point on the game. The tournament victory was the first away from home for SMC since winning the Hawaii Powerbar Invitational in 1996.

After scoring nine points on 3-of-12 shooting in the first half, Mills scored 14 in the second half on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor and made both his 3-point attempts. The 23-point effort for Mills was the second of the tournament for the freshman and his third 20-point performance of the season.

Todd Golden was the only other Gaels to score in double figures as he scored a season-high 13 points. Golden was 4-for-7 from the field, which included three 3-pointers. Golden made two threes in the first half, but his biggest of the game came to start the second half, which evened the score at 28-28, but more importantly it sparked an 11-0 Saint Mary's run to start the half.

Both Simpson and Omar Samhan had double digit rebound games and both just missed notching a double-double. Simpson had 10 rebounds for his sixth double digit rebound game of the season, while Samhan finished with 11 boards for his third double-digit rebound game of the season. Both Simpson and Samhan had nine points.



The Gaels shot 47.1 percent from the field for the game, but connected in just 37.5 percent of their shots in the first half, making just 3-of-12 from behind the arc, and a dismal 33.3 percent (3-9) from the free throw line. SMC shot 55.6 percent over the final 20 minutes, making 15-of-27 shots overall, 4-of-9 from downtown and 11-of-17 from the line.

With the Gaels leading 13-11 following a Carlin Hughes 3-pointer at the 11:47 mark, Ohio went on a 9-0 run over the next four minutes to take a 20-13 advantage. The run by the Bobcats was capped by four free throws following a technical foul call on Todd Golden. The four-and-a-half minute scoring drought by SMC ended with an Omar Samhan jumper with 7:20 left in the first half.

After Saint Mary's cut the deficit to 24-20, Ohio extended its lead to 28-20 with 1:31 left in the half. SMC scored the final five points on a 3-pointer by Golden and a put-back by Diamon Simpson with 34 seconds left to play. The SMC trailed by as much as seven points before trailing by three (28-25) at halftime.

Saint Mary's opened the second half with a blast, scoring the first 11 points of the half, which extended SMC's run to 16 straight points including the last five of the first half. The second half run included threes by Golden, Ian O'Leary and Mills, followed by a fast break lay-in by Golden following a Simpson block on the defensive end.

The 24-5 run over the first 6:30 of the second half had the Gaels leading 49-33 with 13:30 left to play. After Saint Mary's held a 16-point lead, Ohio got as close as 52-39 following a basket by Jerome Tillman at the 9:31 mark. From there Ohio went on a 10-2 run to cut the SMC lead to single digits (57-49) following a 3-point play by Jerome Tillman with 3:23 left to play.

Ohio got as close a six points (62-56) when Bert Wittington made a steal and converted a lay-up with 1:49 left to play. After Carlin Hughes made two free throws, Mills hit two foul shots as well to give SMC a 66-56 lead with 54 seconds left to play.

Following five straight games away from home, Saint Mary's will return to action and McKeon Pavilion on Friday, December 28 in the 5th Annual Shamrock Office Solutions Classic. The Gaels will open the tournament against Howard University, with tip-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The game between the Gaels and Bison will follow the opening game of the tournament between the Furman Paladins and the Cal State Fullerton Titans, which is scheduled to tip-off at 5 p.m.

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