The Saint Mary’s Gaels returned home Thursday night to McKeon Pavilion to take on the San Diego Toreros. In the 78 meetings of the two teams the Gaels entered tonight with a slight edge in the series 41-36. The Gaels played an impressive second half and sent the Toreros out in a crashing defeat 69-57.
James Walker III opened the scoring for the Gaels with a layup at 18:58 tying the score 2-2. By the first media time out at 15:23, the Gaels had the lead 11-7.
The Gaels slowly built their lead until Johnny Dee of San Diego put up five unanswered points closing the Gaels lead to 18-16 with 10:42 in the half.
With 8:31 in the half, the score was tied 20-20. Both teams exchanged points and the score remained tied, 22-22 with 6:52.
In the first 14 minutes of play San Diego shot 61.5 percent from the floor. This was almost double their average percentage. With 5:50 to play the Toreros took over the lead 26-22. The Gaels rallied back off a quick 5-0 run and took the lead back by one.
By the final media timeout at 3:49 the Gaels were back up 30-28.
James Walker III was fouled with 2.6 seconds remaining in the half with the score tied 34-34. Walker III missed the first shot, but made the second closing the half with the Gaels up 35-34.
For the first half the Gaels went 14-for-27 (51.9percent) from the floor and were 4-for-9 (44.4 percent) from behind the arc. Stephen Holt led the charge with nine points.
The Toreros went 12-for-22 (54.5 percent) from the floor, still way above average, and were 2-for-6 (33.3 percent) from 3. Dennis Kramer had an impressive 15 first-half points.
In the second half the Gaels, Beau Levesque faced foul trouble with four fouls early. In an aggressive start to the half, Kerry Carter faced a questionable foul with 17:23 even though he was cut above the eye on the same play. No foul was called on San Diego.
With 15:19 to play in the game the Gaels fell back down 43-40. By 12:40 the game was yet again tied 47-47.
With 10:39 to play the Gaels re-took the lead 53-49. Kerry Carter hit a three from downtown with 9:46 to play bringing the Gaels led back up to seven off a 9-0 run. This forced a quick San Diego timeout. Off of two defensive stops for the Gaels they continued their run and were up 58-49 with 8:21 to play.
San Diego battled back and cut the Gael lead down to five with 5:24 in the game. Then came the Gaels. Off another 9-0 run they built up the lead to 69-55 with 3:29 left in the game. The Gaels went onto another solid victory and move to 9-4 in the West Coast Conference. San Diego falls to 4-10 in conference play.
The Gaels finished the night 25-for-49 (51 percent) from the floor and were 7-for-17 (41.2 percent) from 3. Walker led the night with 21. Stephen Holt had 13. Carter finished with 12.
For the Toreros, they went 22-for-43 (51.2 percent) from the floor. They were 3-for-14 (21.4 percent) from 3-point land. Leading the way was Kramer, who gave Brad Waldow a tough time with 25 points. Dee finished with 14. Duda Sanadze had 10.
The Gaels stay home and next face BYU on Saturday afternoon. Tip off is 5 p.m. Pacific.