The Gaels are looking for a huge at home win tonight that will clinch second place in the WCC as they battle BYU.
The two last faced each other on Jan 16th which resulted in a Matthew Dellavedova buzzer beater three- point shot to stun BYU 70-69. Look for another tough battle tonight at the McKeon pavilion as the two teams match up well on both offense and defense. The game is sure to have high energy in another sold out crowd for the Gaels.
The Gaels have moved up to 22-5 overall and are 11-2 (second place in the WCC). They are coming off a road win at Loyola where they won 61-50. The Gaels are 10-1 in their last 11 games.
One of tonight’s key components will be free-throw shooting for the Gaels. Against the Lions, the Gaels went 6-16 (37.5%) from the line. The Gaels have been struggling from the line this season, but if they turn this aspect around they will be extremely tough to beat.
Statistically, St. Mary’s remains in an impressive 9th place across the nation in shooting percentage at 48.9% The Gaels have dropped slightly to 19th place overall in points average with 76.5 points per game. Free throws again playing a component here.
Leading the way for the Gaels all season has been Matthew Dellevadova. He is currently averaging 15.8 points per game. He’s averaging 43% from the floor and just under 40% from behind the arc. Next for the Gaels is Stephen Holt. Holt, also in double digits, is averaging 11.9 points per game. Off the bench, look for Beau Levesque, Levesque is averaging 10.7 with 22.5 minutes of play time. Look for solid offensive play especially from three-point land from the Gaels tonight.
Byu is currently 20-8 overall and 9-4 (3rd place in the WCC). They are on a two game winning streak having gotten by Utah state and Portland. The faced the Pilots on Feb 16 winning 86-72.
As a team, the Cougars are ranked 12th in the country in points per game averaging 78.0. They are averaging 46.0% from the floor ranking them 56th. The Cougars have been strong in both rebounds and assists all season long.
At the top of the Cougar offense is Tyler Haws averaging 21.2 points per game. Also impressive is Brandon Davies who is putting up 17.7. Matt Carlino is averaging 11.1. Tonight is a must win situation for BYU. Getting by the Gaels, is their only hope of a second place WCC finish. This becomes critical in the WCC tourney with the 1-2 spot bye.
Both teams will be looking for strong offensive performances tonight.
Coach Bennett for the Gaels has been focusing a great deal on defense this year. If the Gael defense can slow down Haws and Davies, look for a 2nd place clinch for the Gaels.
The action starts at 8:00 pm and can be seen live on ESPN2. As always, you can go to smcgaels.com and listen to Alex Jensen behind the mic.