San Diego (11-9) at Saint Mary's-CA (15-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 24, 11 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McKeon Pavilion (3,500) -- Moraga, California. Television: CSN-CA, TWC. Home Record: USD 8-2, SMC 10-0. Away Record: USD 3-5, SMC 4-2. Neutral Record: USD 0-2, SMC 1-2. Conference Record: USD 4-1, SMC 4-1. Series Record: Saint Mary's-CA leads, 38-35.
GAME NOTES: Fresh off a pair of road wins, the Saint Mary's Gaels try to keep up their strong play on Thursday night as they host the San Diego Toreros in West Coast Conference action at McKeon Pavilion in Moraga.
One of five Division I programs to have won at least 25 games in each of the previous five campaigns, the Gaels are well on their way to achieving that feat again in 2012-13 with a mark of 15-4 at the moment. The team has won three straight games and seven of the last eight overall, thanks in part to a 60-38 romp versus Portland on the road last Saturday.
With a record of 4-1 in conference play, the Gaels entered the week tied with San Diego for third place in the WCC standings, trailing only Gonzaga and BYU.
As for the Toreros, they bowed to the aforementioned Cougars last Saturday in a lopsided 74-57 final in Provo, snapping what had been a five-game win streak for USD.
As far as the all-time series is concerned, SMC holds a 38-35 advantage over the Toreros heading into this meeting. The Gaels have won seven of the last eight contests overall and have put together a five-game win streak versus USD at home as well.
Against BYU, the Toreros shot only 36.0 percent from the floor in the first half and 36.7 percent for the game, giving themselves little chance of keeping up on the road. Johnny Dee was credited with 15 points, thanks to his 5-of-10 shooting performance behind the 3-point line, while Chris Anderson responded with 13 points and handed out seven assists, the only player on the team with more than just a single dish in the outing. Over the course of five conference bouts, Dee is the leading scorer for the Toreros with his 14.4 ppg, followed by Anderson who is not only posting 10.6 ppg, he is also the one responsible for 24 of the team's 54 assists which makes it crucial that he remain on the floor for as long as he can each time out. Chris Manresa checks in with 6.6 rpg and 8.4 ppg, that latter number being limited by the fact that he is shooting only 42.9 percent at the free-throw line.
The Gaels were all over Portland from a defensive standpoint last Saturday, holding the Pilots to just three field goals on 19 attempts in the second half, a feeble 23.3 percent accuracy for the entire game. The Gaels forced 18 turnovers, while allowing just 10 field goals, thanks in part to Beau Levesque who logged four steals off the bench. Stephen Holt tallied 13 points, Brad Waldow 12 and Matthew Dellavedova 11 and six assists for the visitors. Dellavedova, the school's all-time leader in assists and 3-pointers both attempted and made, paces the program in scoring at the moment with his 17.0 ppg. His 123 assists over 19 games makes him one of the leaders in that department nationally as well. Holt (12.9 ppg) stands as the only other double-digit scorer for the group at the moment, and yet this is a Gaels squad that is still outscoring the opposition by more than 12 ppg.
San Diego has shown some spirited play in recent weeks, but the Gaels are undefeated at home (10-0) so far this season which makes USD's trip to McKeon Pavilion one that will probably end in defeat.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Mary's-CA 75, San Diego 63
01/24 10:31:26 ET