The Gaels again started off slow in the 1st half against the Lions. With 15:37 in the first half, the Gaels had put up only 4 and trailed 7-4 early. St. Mary’s had put up only six points within the 1st seven minutes of play. Beau Levesque broke the cold streak and hit the first three for the Gaels giving them their first lead 9-7. The Gaels continued with a 7-0 run going up 11-7 with 11:26 in the half. Levesque hit another three as the Gaels added to the run scoring 12 unopposed points bringing the lead to 16-7 with 10:08 to play. Loyola spent eight minutes without a score and the Gaels continued to build their lead going up 18-7 with 7:56 to play in the half. The Lions continued their dry spell and went just over 10 minutes without scoring a field goal. With 3:51 left in the 1st half the Gaels held on to a nine point lead; 20-11. The Gaels sent the Lions to the locker room with a 33-21 lead.
Leading the way for the Gaels in the first half was Beau Levesque with eight points. Jordan page had seven. Steven Holt had six. From the floor St. Mary’s shot 12-25 (48.0%) and they were 3-8 (37.5%) from behind the arc. The Gaels put up 14 points from the paint and 13 from the bench.
Most troubling in the 1st half was the Gaels free throw shooting. The Gaels went a dismal 6-16 (37.5%) from the line. Coach Bennett is going to have to work hard on this weakness in the Gael play as this could cost the Gaels crucial wins in the last part of the season.
For the Lions, Anthony Ireland led the scoring with 10. Alex Osborne put up five. Team wise, the Lions went just 5-18 (27.8%) from the floor and 1-5 (20.0%) from threes. Loyola hit only four points in the paint. Their bench had three.
In the second half the Gaels continued the charge and built the lead to 38-23 at 15:08. The Gaels continued building the lead and went up by 20; 53-33 with 7:57 left to play. Loyola had a late game rally and cut the Gael lead to nine; 57-48 with 39 seconds. With 30.6 seconds the Gael lead was cut to eight 58-50. Off of mainly sloppy play from St. Mary’s at the end, Loyola was able to make the game competitive at the end. The Gaels held on to win 61-50.
For the Game the Gaels went 20-43 (46.5%) from the floor and 4-13 (30.8%) from three point land. They finished 17-35 (48.6%) from the free throw line. The Leading scorer tonight was Stephen Holt with 16. Jordan page had 12. Both Dellavedova and Levesque had eight. The Gaels move to 22-5 overall and 11-2 in the WCC
Game wise, the Lions went 14-46 (30.4%) from the floor and 3-9 (33.3%) from behind the arc. Leading the way for Loyola was Ireland with 19. Hamilton put up 13 and Osborne had nine. The Lions remain in last place in the WCC dropping to 1-12.
The Gaels return home to face BYU Thursday night at 8pm in another must win situation for St. Mary’s. A win for the Gaels seals the deal on second place in the WCC.