After suffering a tough and agonizing loss against BYU at home last Saturday night, the Gaels traveled across the bay to face their long-time rival, the USF Dons. The Gaels had won 17 in a row against the Dons. Thursday night would not bring the Gaels back to glory as they fell hard again losing 73-62.
The Gaels got off to an early 7-3 with 15:40 in the half. By 12:53 USF re-took the lead 13-12. By 11:50 the Gaels fell down 17-12 being outscored 14-5 off a 9-0 Don run. The Gaels again struggled off the zone defense. They had difficulty getting the ball inside and were not hitting threes. The Dons were unstoppable as they continued to dominate the Gaels off a 16-2 run over just under six minutes.
After yet another poorly played half, the Gaels headed to the locker room down 33-23.
The Gaels shooting was sub-par in the first half. They went just 9-28 (32.1 percent) from the floor and were awful from threes going just 3-16 (18.8 percent).
The Dons went 12-26 (46.2 percent) from the floor and were 4-11 (36.4 percent) from beyond the arc. Mark Tollefsen was the only player in double digits with 10.
In the second half the Gaels continued to struggle on both sides of the court. Their offense could not penetrate the zone defense and their shooting was off the mark.
By the first media time out the Gaels trailed 42-28.
The only good thing of the second half for the Gaels was Eividas Petrulis who at least had some success from threes.
The Gaels need to find a way to beat the zone defense.
The Gaels need to apply full court pressure and a trap defense when necessary. Tonight down 14 with 4:40 to play, there was no full court pressure. The question is why? The Gaels did attempt full court pressure with 1:47 remaining in the game. Too little, too late.
The Gaels need to play solid 3-point shooters.
The above will be key factors for the rest of the season if the Gaels are going to win critical games. Tonight was just a poorly played game all the way around for St. Mary’s.
The Gaels finished the night 23-58 (39.7 percent) from the floor They finished just 5-26 (19.2 percent) from threes. Waldow led the way with 15.
The Gaels have their worst conference record since 2007 and fall to 9-6 in the West Coast Conference.
For the Dons, they went 24-48 (50.0 percent) from the floor. They were 7-14 (50.0 percent) from three-point land. Leading the way were Tollefsen, Pinkins, and Glover all with 16. The Dons improve to 10-5 in the conference and go into 3rd place. BYU upset Gonzaga. BYU moves to 2nd place in the conference. The Gaels drop to fourth place.
The Gaels next face another Bay Area rival, battling the Santa Clara Broncos Saturday afternoon. Tip off time is 1 p.m. Pacific.