It was a very tough night for the Saint Mary’s Gaels as they suffered their first season loss against South Carolina in Hawaii tonight; 78-71.
The Gaels had a dismal start at the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu. Poor shooting kept the Gaels struggling through most of the first half. South Carolina started off with a quick 4-0 lead. The Gaels would take the lead one time 6-5 with 14:49 to play in the half. With 9:34 to play, the Gaels fell down 16-8. Stephen Holt sparked a run, hitting six straight points off a 3-pointer and a conventional three-point play, closing the gap to 16-14 with 8:32 to play. South Carolina answered with a 10-0 run of their own which put the Gaels down by 12, 26-14.
The remarkable part of the first half was that even though the Gaels had their worst first half shooting percentage of the season, they managed to go to the locker room down by only six, 33-27.
Statistically for the half, the Gaels put up a disastrous 9-for-32 (28.1 percent) from the floor. This was in comparison to South Carolina who went 12-for-23 (52.2 percent) for the half.
In the second half, the Gaels battled back and caught South Carolina with 12:50 to play, tying the score 45-45. The teams exchanged points and remained tied 50-50 off a James Walker 3 with 12 minutes to play. Then the Gamecocks built back their lead. They got back up by eight, 68-60, with 4:35 to play. The Gaels would not give up. They fought hard and cut the Gamecock lead to just two, 70-68, with 2:55 to play. With 1:18 to play, South Carolina was back up by six, 75-69. The Gaels could never quite get back in the game and pull off the victory. The Gaels suffered their first loss of the season and drop to 9-1. South Carolina improves to 3-5.
For the game, the Gaels ended the night 22-for-50 (44.0 percent) from the floor and 7-for-19 (36.8 percent) from behind the arc. Leading the way for the Gaels was Brad Waldow with 20. Beau Levesque had 15. Stephen Holt had 14 points and James Walker closed out with 13.
The Gamecocks finished 28-for-49 (57.1) percent from the floor, way above their season average (40.3 percent). They were also 44.4 percent from 3 going 4-for-9. Leading their victory was Tyrone Johnson with 16. Sindarius Thronwell and 13, Duane Notice had 11, and off the bench, Laimonas Chatkeviclus had 12.
The Gaels were simply outperformed tonight in every aspect. The height and solid offensive performance of the Gamecocks was just too strong for the Gaels. They will have to regroup, shake off the loss and move on. They next face the loser of the Boise State-Hawaii game Monday at 8:30 p.m. Pacific.