Saint Mary’s Fends Off San Diego, Remains Perfect in WCC Play


The Saint Mary’s Gaels jumped out to an early lead and held off multiple comeback attempts for a 70-58 win over the San Diego Toreros on Thursday night in Moraga. The Gaels took advantage of a very cold first half of shooting for the Toreros, and it was enough to withstand a much hotter second half by the Toreros.

The Gaels shot 60% from field goal range in the first half compared to 27.3% for San Diego as they built a 36-21 halftime lead. The Toreros made a vast improvement in the second half shooting 46.9% and closing the gap, but they could never catch the Gaels. San Diego actually outscored Saint Mary’s 37-34 in the second half, but it was far from enough to overcome the lopsided first half.

Brad Waldow continues to be the most dominant big man in the WCC as he had a game-high 25 points. Kerry Carter and Aaron Bright also hit double-figures for the Gaels, and Bright added 11 assists to his 11 points for a double-double. Carter just missed out on his own double-double with 15 points and a game-high 9 rebounds.

Johnny Dee overcame a quiet first half where he scored just 2 points to finish with a team-high 14 points for San Diego. Duda Sanadze and Brandon Perry also hit double figures, and Thomas Jacobs had a solid night inside with 9 points and 6 rebounds.

Jito Kok may be experiencing some issues as he had an off night. He played just 12 minutes and finished with 3 points, 0 rebounds, and 0 blocks. Perry would likely move into the starting lineup in his place if he’s seriously injured. Perry was solid playing the bulk of Kok’s minutes against the Gaels.

Saint Mary’s improves to 14-3 overall and a perfect 6-0 in conference play. They are tied for first in the WCC with #3 Gonzaga who won a nailbiter at Pepperdine on Thursday. The Gaels have already defeated the Waves 68-59 this season.

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San Diego falls to 9-10 overall and 2-5 in conference play. They have dropped two in a row since beating Loyola Marymount. The Toreros have not beaten Saint Mary’s in Moraga since the 2006-07 season. They have fared much better against the Gaels at home however. The Toreros have beaten Saint Mary’s two of the last four years in San Diego including last season.

Saint Mary’s hosts one of their biggest games of the year on Saturday against BYU. The Cougars are 5-2 in conference play after defeating Pacific on the road Thursday. The winner of Saturday’s matchup will be in prime position to finish 2nd in the WCC and try to chase down Gonzaga for the WCC Championship.

San Diego stays on the road visiting Pacific on Saturday. The Tigers have struggled losing three straight, but they have been competitive at home pushing teams like BYU and San Francisco in home losses. The Tigers ended the season for the Toreros last season in Stockton in the Quarterfinals of the CIT Tournament.