Saint Mary's-CA (14-4) at Portland (8-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 19, 10:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Chiles Center (4,852) -- Portland, Oregon. Television: ROOT-NW. Home Record: SMC 10-0, Portland 6-3. Away Record: SMC 3-2, Portland 1-7. Neutral Record: SMC 1-2, Portland 1-1. Conference Record: SMC 3-1, Portland 1-3. Series Record: Saint Mary's-CA leads, 54-29.
GAME NOTES: Coming off one of the most exciting wins in recent memory, the Saint Mary's-CA Gaels shoot for a third straight win on Saturday night as they clash with the Portland Pilots at the Chiles Center.
Pitted against BYU at the Marriott Center on Wednesday night, the Gaels fell behind by two points late, but Matthew Dellavedova reached cult status for SMC as he raced down the floor and released a game-winning 3-pointer from just inside half court to give the visitors the incredible 70-69 victory. The win was the sixth in the last seven outings for the program, which is now 3-1 in conference play.
As for the Pilots, they were matched up against No. 8 Gonzaga at home two nights ago, but the hometown crowd wasn't nearly enough to keep Portland competitive as the team suffered a lopsided 71-49 defeat. The loss was the fourth in five games for the Pilots, who are 1-3 in conference play as a result.
In a relationship that dates back to 1950, the Gaels own a 54-29 advantage over Portland entering action on Saturday. SMC, which is set to host the Pilots early next month, has won three straight, the most recent meeting being a complete blow out last season, 70-43.
Dellavedova converted 3-of-8 shots beyond the arc on Wednesday night, finishing with 18 points to go along with eight assists in one of the more exciting endings of the season in college basketball thus far. Stephen Holt was the top scorer overall for the Gaels with 22 points, followed by James Walker III and Mitchell Young with 13 and 10 points, respectively, with both clearing seven rebounds. Saint Mary's survived despite allowing the Cougars to shoot 52.9 percent from the floor. The face of the program for the last several years, Dellavedova leads the team in scoring with 17.3 ppg, shooting not just 40 percent beyond the arc but also an even 90 percent at the free- throw line. Just as important is the fact that the star guard has handed out 117 assists, against just 50 turnovers, over 18 starts. Holt (12.9 ppg) is also a key figure on offense for a group that is outscoring the competition by more than 11 ppg.
Kevin Bailey was an efficient 7-of-8 from the floor as he finished with a team-best 16 points two nights ago, but he needed much more help if the Pilots hoped to be competitive against Gonzaga. Oskars Reinfelds was responsible for another 12 points and Ryan Nicholas seven and eight boards, but the team was charged with 17 turnovers, shot only 3-of-10 behind the three-point line, and was topped on the glass by a 36-22 margin. Nicholas, who is shooting 40.9 percent from the field, is always a threat to turn in a double-double effort as he averages 13.1 points and 9.7 rebounds per game for the Pilots. Bailey steps up with 12.3 ppg as the only other double-digit scorer on a squad that is posting a mere 61.1 ppg. Defensively, Portland has held the opposition to 65.3 ppg and 41.0 percent accuracy from the floor to make things interesting.
With the high that the Gaels are coming off there's a chance for a let down this weekend, but you can be sure that Dellavedova will keep his teammates from falling into that trap.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Mary's-CA 72, Portland 61
01/19 10:39:49 ET