Saint Mary’s Gaels Tame Pacific Tigers In Tough Battle


The Saint Mary’s Gaels truly battled the Pacific Tigers Saturday afternoon in a roller coaster ride at home in the fourth of a six-game homestand. The Gaels came in hoping to improve their record in the West Coast Conference and overall reputation as a true force in NCAA basketball. Saturday, off a very tough battled game, the Gaels came out on top 79-73.

The Gaels opened up Saturday afternoon off an administrative technical foul of the Tigers and had a 1-0 lead before the game began. This was followed by a Brad Waldow layup with 19:35 in the half and before the Tigers knew what happened the Gaels were up 5-0.  Pacific wouldn’t stay down for long and by the first media timeout at 15:53, the Gaels led 8-6. With 14:42 to play the Tigers rallied and took their first lead 10-8.  With 11:54 to play the Gaels still trailed 13-12.

The battle for the lead continued. Numerous called fouls affected the Gaels pace of play and caused problems for both teams. With 10:44 the Gaels fell down 18-12 with Waldow, Beau Levesque and Kerry Carter on the bench. James Walker III caught his  third foul at 9:18 in the first half and somehow Paul McCoy made it into the game. McCoy has yet to take a shot in the last four games.

Coach Randy Bennett called a much need timeout at 8:48 with the Gaels down 21-15. They had been outscored 21-10. By 8:04, both Walker and Levesque had three fouls and the Gaels could have been in trouble.  Instead, with 6:07 in the half, the Gaels cut the Tiger lead to just one and had the ball.

The Gael run ended as a the Tigers went on a 9-0 run. The Gaels went down by 10, 34-24 with 1:52 in the half forcing another Gael timeout.

In what was a disastrous first half for the Gaels, one of the few positives was a downtown half-ending 3-pointer by Carter. This sent the Gaels to the locker room with some much-needed energy down 38-31.

The Gaels were outplayed in just about every aspect in the first half. They went 8-for-20 (40 percent) from the floor and were 4-for-11 (36.4 percent) from behind the arc. The Gaels were 11-for-16 (68.8 percent) from the line. In comparison, the Tigers went 11-for-19 (57.9 percent) from the floor. They were 3-for-6 (50 percent) from 3 and 13-for-15 (86.7 percent) from the line.

In the second half, the Gaels came out rejuvenated. With 14:29 they rallied back and tied the game, 43-43.  They finally re-gained the lead off a Stephen Holt 3-pointer at 13:28, 46-45. The Gaels continued the charge and were up 61-54 with 7:52 to play in the game. Back-to-back 3s from Carter and Jordan Giusti moved the Gael lead to 67-54 forcing a Tiger timeout with 6:44 to play. The Tigers never were able to close the gap and the Gaels tamed the Tigers picking up a solid win.

In a much better played second half the Gaels ended the night 19-39 (48.7 percent) from the floor. From 3, they closed the night 10-for-19 (52.6 percent) Leading the way in scoring was Stephen Holt with 26, Brad Waldow had 22 and Kerry Carter had 21.

For the Tigers, they finished 23-for-46 (50 percent) from the floor and were 5-for-13 (38.5 percent) from 3.  Tony Gill led the Tiger pack with 16. Andrew Bock, Sama Taku, and Tervin Harris all had 11. Ross Rivera put up 10.

The Gaels move to 4-2 in the West Coast Conference and 14-5 overall. The Tigers fall to 1-5 in the WCC and are 10-7 overall.

It must be noted that the officials called a ridiculous 60 fouls this afternoon. Many of them were questionable calls affecting both sides.

In watching more than 25 years of college basketball, I cannot ever recall a more poorly officiated game. These officials were so over the top they need to relearn the definition of letting teams play college basketball. Perhaps they were suffering from whistlitis?

The Gaels stay home and next face Pepperdine Thursday night. Tip is 7 p.m. Pacific. Pacific hosts Loyola Marymount the same night, Thursday, also at 7 p.m.