Despite taking a lead into the second half, the Portland Pilots could not overcome a poor shooting night as they fell 74-64 to the Saint Mary’s Gaels on Thursday night in the Chiles Center. In typical Gaels fashion, Saint Mary’s let it stay close most of the game before a 14-0 run midway through the second half pulled them ahead for good.
Feb 5, 2014; Spokane, WA, USA; Portland Pilots guard Kevin Bailey (00) shoots the ball over Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Gary Bell Jr. (5) during the first half at McCarthey Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
The Pilots shot just 29.3% from field goal range in the first half, but they took a 31-30 lead into the locker room. They led by as much as five in the second half until their cold shooting caught up to them. Midway through the second half, the Pilots went on a four minute scoring drought as the Gaels made their move. The SMC lead would grow to as much as 14 points with 3:22 left as the Pilots never recovered.
Saint Mary’s had a typically strong if not overwhelming game. Brad Waldow was himself with a game-high 19 points and 9 rebounds. The Gaels had a 32-16 advantage in points in the paint. Thomas Van der Mars had an excellent night putting up a double-double with 16 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, but the rest of the Pilots frontcourt struggled.
Waldow got quality support from Garrett Jackson who had 18 points and 8 rebounds. He continues to emerge as a more consistent contributor, and the Gaels now have a solid core four with Waldow and Jackson down low complementing Aaron Bright and Kerry Carter in the backcourt. Carter was the third Gael in double figures with 12 points.
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Four Pilots scored in double figures led by Bryce Pressley with 18 points. Kevin Bailey continues to look good since returning from injury, and he chipped in 13 points. Alec Wintering has the best three point percentage in the conference and had 10 points, but he did not shoot much from long range going just 1-2 from outside the arc.
Portland falls to 12-9 overall and 3-6 in conference play with the loss. They were coming off a win over Pacific but have now lost four of their last five. They visit #3 Gonzaga on Thursday. They challenged the Bulldogs in a 87-75 home loss earlier this season.
Saint Mary’s improves to 16-4 overall and 8-1 in conference play with the win. Their 8 game winning streak was snapped in a 68-47 loss to #3 Gonzaga on Thursday. They start a three game homestand on Thursday in which they will host Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, and Pacific.