Saint Mary's-CA (9-3) at Pacific (9-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, December 30, 11 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alex G. Spanos Center (6,150) -- Stockton, California.
Television: ROOT-NW, RM, KHQ. Home Record: SMC 8-0, Pacific 4-0. Away Record:
SMC 1-1, Pacific 2-1. Neutral Record: SMC 0-2, Pacific 3-1. Conference Record:
SMC 0-0, Pacific 0-0. Series Record: Saint Mary's-CA leads, 66-43.
GAME NOTES: Back on the mainland, the Gaels of Saint Mary's try to put an end
to a three-game slide tonight as they clash with the Pacific Tigers in the
West Coast Conference opener for both programs at the Spanos Center.
The Gaels were undefeated after nine games as they headed to Hawaii to take
part in the Diamond Head Classic last week and figured to have favorable
matchups given the field for the eight-team event, but that simply wasn't the
case. In fact, not only did the Gaels end up on the losing side of the tourney
bracket following a 78-71 loss to South Carolina in the opening round, the
team then bowed to both Hawaii (76-74) and George Mason (65-63) to finish last
in the event.
As for the Tigers, a team which is a perfect 4-0 at home, they seem to be
picking up speed as they enter league play, having won five of the last six
outings. Granted, Pacific did come up quite short in an 83-58 setback against
Princeton during the South Point Holiday Classic in Las Vegas on Dec. 20, but
it bounced back with a 71-55 romp over Bradley the very next day.
The Gaels lead the all-time series by a count of 66-43, posting a convincing
74-46 victory in the most recent meeting last December in Moraga, California.
The Gaels had every chance to break out of their Honolulu slump and post a win
against George Mason in the final game of the tournament on Christmas Day, but
the team was doomed by a mere 14-of-24 showing at the free-throw line.
Utilizing just three reserves, SMC relied heavily on the starters as Stephen
Holt and James Walker both tallied 14 points, followed by Brad Waldow with 10,
but the big man was limited by foul trouble and managed to clear just three
Waldow leads the team in both scoring (17.1 ppg) and rebounding (6.9 rpg) and
is also tops with 22 blocked shots, but considering his free-throw accuracy
(.577) is far worse than his shooting from the floor overall (.651), having
him playing late in tight games might not always be the best option for the
Gaels now. Holt (13.1 ppg), Walker (12.1 ppg) and Beau Levesque (11.3 ppg) are
each shooting better than 42.0 percent behind the 3-point line at the moment,
lifting the entire group to an impressive 42.5 percent on the perimeter,
compared to a mere 30.1 percent for the competition.
Aside from turning the ball over 17 times, the Tigers played a solid game
against Bradley the last time out as they limited the Braves to just 31.4
percent shooting from the field and 6-of-18 behind the 3-point line. Tony Gill
was the lone starter to score in double figures for Pacific with 11 points, as
reserves T.J. Wallace and Aaron Short delivered 14 and 10 off the bench.
Wallace, who was saddled with four turnovers, knocked down 4-of-7 shot beyond
After 11 games the Tigers are scoring 75.9 ppg and have four players hitting
for double figures, but none of them are scoring more than 11.6 ppg (Andrew
Bock). Gill checks in with 11.5 ppg on the strength of 52.1 percent accuracy
from the field, followed by Sama Taku with 11.4 ppg and Ross Rivera 10.0 ppg
off the bench. Thanks to Gill and Taku who are both pulling down 5.0 rpg, the
Tigers are beating opponents on the glass by an average of 5.6 rpg per
As long as Waldow can stay on the floor and out of foul trouble the Gaels will
have a solid presence in the paint. However, Pacific can still give the
visitors a run for their money and quite possibly send SMC to yet another
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Mary's-CA 72, Pacific 67
12/30 11:03:38 ET
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