MBK | Gaels Host UNC Asheville for Final Non-Conference Game of the Year
Friday's matchup will mark the first ever meeting between Saint Mary's and UNC Asheville.
Game 13: vs UNC Asheville (7-5), Friday, Dec. 22, 7:00 p.m.
McKeon Pavilion (Capacity, 3,500)
All-time Series: First Meeting
TV: Comcast Hometown Network (Ch. 104 (SD)/ Ch. 819 (HD))
Dave Lewis (PxP), Bill Herenda (Color)
Audio: TuneIn Radio (Saint Mary’s IMG Sports Network)
Live Stats | TuneIn | Purchase Tickets | Live Stream
Gaels Fly Past Dayton With Potent Second Half
Saint Mary’s won its fifth consecutive game with the 69-54, victory over Dayton. The offense exploded in the second half Tuesday, turning a two-point half-time deficit into the 15-point victory. Calvin Hermanson played a big part in staking the Gaels to a 41-33 lead, scoring six points during a 12-2 run right out of the gate. Dayton (5-6) cut it back down to a four-point contest, but Hermanson got going again with eight points during a 19-2 run that buried the Flyers and gave the Gaels a 20-point advantage at 68-48.
Double-Double Streak Continues
Jock Landale has six double-doubles this season, and has strung four in a row. Over the five game win streak, the senior is averaging 24 points and 12.3 rebounds on 63.8 percent shooting from the floor.
The big man has scored in double-digits in 19 consecutive games dating back to the 2016-17 season. Landale currently leads the WCC in points (21.0), rebounds (9.6) and field-goal percentage (64.3). The senior is also tied-first in offensive rebounds (3.3) and third in the WCC in defensive rebounds (6.3).
Spending the Holidays Home
SMC is playing its fifth consecutive home, and is nearing the end of a six game home stand. The Gaels will host Loyola Marymount on Dec. 28 at 8 p.m. PST. Next road game will be at BYU on Dec. 30 which will be aired on ESPNU at 1 p.m. PST.
Friday’s game versus UNC Asheville will be the final non-conference game before the Gaels begin the West Coast Conference slate at home versus LMU on Dec. 28. SMC has won its non-conference finale in six straight seasons. The last loss in a non-conference finale came in 2010-11 at 22/21 Vanderbilt, 89-70 (Jan. 22, 2011).
Dating back to 2016-17, the Gaels are an impressive 33-1 in games when leading at halftime. SMC is also 33-0 when shooting a better three point FG percentage than its opponents and 31-1 when outrebounding the opposition.
Taking Care of the Ball
Despite 13 turnovers Tuesday night versus Dayton, the Gaels are the top program in the country in Turnovers per game. Through 12 games, SMC is averaging just 8.6 turnovers.
With this pace, this year’s team would mark the fewest turnovers by the Gaels under head coach Randy Bennett.
Spreading the Wealth
The Gaels have had at least three players reach double-digit scoring in 11 out of 12 games this season. SMC currently has three players averaging double-digit scoring- Landale (21.0), Hermanson (14.3) and Naar (12.4).
Watching the Record Book
With now 1,149 points, Naar moves into tied-20th in all-time scoring. With 107 assists through 12 games, Naar will need 141 more assists this season to surpass
Dellavedova on all-time assists.
Calvin Hermanson has the third most three-pointers in program history with 205. Hermanson became just the third Gael to have at least 200 three-pointers made in his career.
Landale needs just 53 made field goals to tie for 10th in program history for field-goals made (505). He also needs 115 more rebounds to have 10th most rebounds in program history. His 1,149 career points is tied-20th all-time.
About the Bulldogs
Senior guard Ahmad Thomas is already just the sixth player in Big South Conference men's basketball history with over 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 200 steals. Thomas is nearing becoming just the second person in league history with over 1,000 points, 600 rebounds, 200 steals and 200 assists. Thomas enters Friday night’s game with 1,243 points, 588 rebounds, 211 steals and 191 assists.
UNC Asheville senior duo Thomas and Kevin Vannatta are the 24th pair in Big South Conference history of four-year classmates to each score over 1,000 points during the same four-year span. Thomas with 1,243 career points and Vannatta with 1,061 career points right now have a combined total of 2,304, which moves them into the top-20 in the category in league history. Thomas and Vannatta are the fifth set of Bulldog teammates with the achievement in Asheville's Big South era.
The UNC Asheville men's basketball team was picked to win the Big South Conference at the annual league Media Day. UNC Asheville's choice as preseason No. 1 marks the first time since the 2011-12 preseason poll that the Bulldogs have been tabbed to finish first. The Bulldogs have now been picked five times (1989-90, 1997-98, 2002-03, 2011-12 and 2017-18) to win the league in the official preseason poll.
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