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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 30, 5:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McKeon Pavilion (3,500) -- Moraga, California. Television: None. Home Record: Yale 2-1, SMC 6-0. Away Record: Yale 1-5, SMC 2-1. Neutral Record: Yale 1-2, SMC 1-2. Conference Record: Yale 0-0, SMC 0-0. Series Record: Saint Mary's-CA leads, 3-1.
GAME NOTES: Winners of five of their last six outings, the Gaels of Saint Mary's-CA prepare to play the first of back-to-back games against Ivy League opponents on Sunday when they welcome the Yale Bulldogs to McKeon Pavilion.
SMC, which also has a date with Harvard planned for New Year's Eve, is in the midst of a four-game homestand with the West Coast Conference schedule ready to tip off against Loyola Marymount next Saturday. The Gaels were most recently in action on Thursday night when they pummeled the visiting Rhode Island Rams in an 82-59 final.
As for the Bulldogs, they've alternated wins and losses for the last seven games and on Friday it was time for another setback as the team bowed to Nevada, 85-75, in Reno. The meeting with the Wolf Pack was the first of four straight on the road for Yale and part of a run that consists of six of seven games away from home.
With respect to the all-time series, the Gaels have won three of the previous four encounters dating back to 1948. The latest contest took place in 2003 with SMC claiming a 66-56 victory. The lone win for the Bulldogs was turned in back on Nov. 12. 1990 in a narrow 66-65 final on a neutral floor.
Yale found itself tied with the Pack at the half on Friday, 36-36, but then the defense for the Bulldogs loosened up and allowed the hosts to shoot not only 59.3 percent from the field, but 63.6 percent behind the 3-point line, en route to the double-digit decision. Austin Morgan tried to keep the visitors close with a team-best 20 points, followed by Michael Grace with 17, but shooting only 38.6 percent from the floor overall was just not going to cut it for the Bulldogs. On a team that has had just a single player appear in all 12 games so far this season, Morgan is perhaps the most promising with his 12.4 ppg, although just 35.6 percent shooting from the floor is not exactly ground breaking by any stretch. Justin Sears is just a freshman, but he has played rather well given his limited experience, and is now second on the team in scoring with 11.4 ppg and first on the glass with close to six and a half boards per outing.
Stephen Holt led five players in double figures as he tallied 17 points for Saint Mary's as the team posted a 23-point win over the Rhode Island Rams in non-conference play at McKeon Pavilion three nights ago. Also having a strong game for the Gaels was Matthew Dellavedova with 12 points and 10 assists, followed by Beau Levesque and James Walker III with 14 points apiece, and Mitchell Young 10. In addition to shooting a solid 52.7 percent from the floor, the Gaels also ruled the glass as they produced a huge 42-17 rebounding advantage over a Rams group which cleared a mere three offensive rebounds in the contest. Dellavedova continues to demonstrate why he should be considered one of the top performers in the WCC as he leads the team not only in scoring with 18.0 ppg, shooting 41.8 percent out on the perimeter, but is also tops with 77 assists, compared to only 37 turnovers for someone who handles the ball as much as he does. Holt, who has missed a handful of contests, checks in with 11.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, for a team that is outscoring the competition by almost 15 per night.
The Bulldogs have already made the longest part of this road trip, but expect the squad to still look rough around the edges as Dellavedova carves them up as only he can for the Gaels.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Mary's-CA 86, Yale 61
12/30 11:04:16 ET
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