MBK | Gaels Open Season Against Saint Francis on Saturday
Saint Mary's will look for their 16th straight season opener win as they take on Saint Francis (PA) on Saturday at 5 p.m. in McKeon Pavilion.
Game 1: vs Saint Francis, Saturday, Nov. 11, 5 p.m.
All-time Series Record: 0-1
Last Meeting: 12/22/1969 (L, 74-59)
Live Stream: TheW.tv
Audio: TuneIn Radio
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10 More Years for Bennett
On Friday, Saint Mary’s and head coach Randy Bennett announced the signing of a new 10-year contract that will keep Bennett in charge of the program through the 2026-27 season.
Read the full release HERE.
Season Openers Go Gaels’ Way
Ever since the season opening loss at UC Irvine in 2001, Saint Mary’s has been impressive in season openers. The Gaels have won 15 consecutive season opening games.
SMC is 15-0 at McKeon Pavilion in season openers since 2001-02. Saint Mary’s is 124-18 (.873) at home versus non-conference opponents since 2001-02.
Preseason WCC Favorites
Returning four out of five starters from a 29-win team a season ago, Saint Mary’s has been pegged as WCC favorites over rival Gonzaga. The Gaels received the unanimous decision receiving nine possible votes.
Seniors Emmett Naar, Calvin Hermanson and Jock Landale were all honored on the preseason conference team.
Big Shoes to Fill
With the absence of guard Joe Rahon and forward Dane Pineau, the Gaels will need to adjust to fill the two vacancies.
Sophomore Jordan Ford and senior transfer Cullen Neal are poised to have immediate impacts in the backcourt alongside Naar.
Rahon and Pineau both went global to further their basketball careers. After a NBA Summer League stint with the Warriors, Rahon signed a contract to play in Belgium for Limburg United, while Pineau went back to Australia to play for the Sydney Kings.
20 Consecutive Weeks
The Gaels are back inside the top-25 to open the new season. This marks the 20th consecutive week the Gaels have been ranked in both the AP and USA Today Coaches poll. The previous record for being nationally-ranked was five straight weeks during the 2008 and 2012 seasons.
Records 2 Watch 4
Naar needs just six more points to tie 30th in all-time scoring (1,006). To surpass Dellavedova on all-time assists, Naar will need 247 assists this season.
With 10 more 3-pointers, Calvin Hermanson will have 187 in his career, tied-4th most in program history. 20 3-pointers will make Hermanson tied-3rd with Frank Allocco (197).
Landale needs just 154 made field goals to tie for 10th in program history for field-goals made (505). He also needs 230 more rebounds to have 10th most rebounds in program history.
Watch List Party for Landale
After a breakout season, Landale has been named to several key watch lists.
Citizen Naismith Trophy (Nov. 9), Lou Henson Watch List (Nov. 8) for Division I best mid-major player, Lute Olsen Watch List (Nov. 7) for best Division I player, Oscar Robertson Watch List (Nov. 6) and Abdul-Jabbar Watch List (Oct. 21).
The senior center leads the Gaels and the WCC after averaging 16.9 ppg, and 9.5 rpg in 2016-17. Landale was named on the preseason First Team by the Blue Ribbon. Landale became the first Gael named AP Honorable Mention since Dellavedova in 2012-13.
NEC Favorites - Saint Francis
Expectations are high in Loretto as the Red Flash was a unanimous No. 1 selection in the NEC Preseason Coaches’ Poll for the first time in program history.
It will be its first time playing a ranked opponent since facing No. 2 Maryland on December 4, 2015. SFU’s last win over a ranked opponent in the AP Poll came in 1959 over No. 13 St. Bonaventure.
Saint Francis returns a veteran group with four starters and 71% of its scoring back from last season. The Red Flash boasted the top scoring offense in the NEC in 2016-17 with an average of 75.8 points per game.
Much of its success came from behind the arc as the team connected on a league-best 277 three-pointers, shooting it at a league-high 39.1% from behind the arc.
SFU’s 78-76 win at Jacksonville in the First Round of the CIT was its first postseason win since the 1991 NCAA Tournament Play-In Game against Fordham, a 70-64 win.
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