Saturday night, the Saint Mary’s Gaels entered the West Coast Conference tournament quarterfinals game facing the Pepperdine Waves. The Gaels were 2-0 against the Waves in the regular season, winning in overtime in their last meeting 69-67. Saturday night, the Gaels would keep hope alive for postseason tournament play as they went onto a solid victory, 80-69.
Brad Waldow started the scoring off a reverse layup giving the Gaels the first lead at 18:47. In yet another slow start for the Gaels, by the first media time out at 15:58, they were stuck at two points trailing by three. James Walker III broke the ice hitting a solid three pointer tying the Game. Beau Levesque hit a three to follow bringing the Gaels back to life.
In a very competitive start to the half, the Gaels had a slight lead 22-19, with 6:34 remaining.
The Gaels finally took charge of the game and before the Waves knew what hit them the Gaels had built the lead to nine. With 1:28 to play, the Gaels led 41-26 and were unstoppable from threes.
After a sluggish start, at the close of the first half, the Gaels enjoyed a solid 13-point lead, 41-28.
For the half the Gaels went 16-31 (51.6 percent) from the floor and were a solid 7-12 (58.3 percent) from behind the arc. Stephen Holt put up 11. Brad Waldow had 10.
The Waves went 11-23 (47.8 percent) from the floor and were 2-7 (28.6 percent) from threes. In the last six minutes of the half they just could not keep up with the Gaels offense and solid defensive play.
In the second half, the Waves attempted to play catch-up but it wasn’t panning out at the beginning. The Gaels continued to dominate the pace of play on both sides of the court.
Mid way through the half, the Waves cut the Gael lead to 61-51 forcing a quick re-grouping time out from coach Randy Bennett. Off a flagrant 1 foul from Kerry Carter the Waves cut the lead again to 10 and got the ball. Luckily for the Gaels, the Waves couldn’t break the 10-point gap. The Waves would not give up and further dipped into the Gael lead falling down by only 7 off a long three from Malte Kramer.
What seemed to be an easy win for the Gaels turned out to be a battle late in the second half. The Battle became too little too late as the Waves could not fully close the Gael gap.
The Gaels went on to have an impressive victory and move to the WCC tournament semifinals. They will face the Gonzaga Bulldogs. This is a chance to redeem themselves as they have not fared well against Gonzaga this season.
The Gaels finished the night 28-56 (50.0 percent) from the floor. They ended 9-21 (42.9 percent) from 3. Brad Waldow led the way with a solid 21. Holt and Levesque had 15. Carter had 10.
For the Waves, they went 24-56 (42.9 percent) from the floor. They were 9-19(47.4 percent) from 3-point land. Leading the way for the Waves was Amadi Udennyi who had 13.