Hermanson's D and threes lift Gaels past Stanford
STANFORD, Calif. -- Even though Saint Mary's forward Calvin Hermanson was the offensive star of the game Wednesday, both he and Gaels coach Randy Bennett thought his best effort came on the other end.
Certainly his career-high 25 points and 7-of-9 3-point shooting were instrumental in the 12th-ranked Gaels' 66-51 victory over Stanford at Maples Pavilion. But they were no more important than the defensive job he did on Stanford guard Dorian Pickens.
Pickens came into the game averaging 15.4 points, and he scored 19 and 21 points the Cardinal's last two games against Indiana State and Seton Hall, both of which Stanford won.
Against the Gaels and Hermanson, Pickens went 0 of 4 from the field while scoring just two points, the first time this season he failed to score in double figures.
"I like playing defense," Hermanson said. "There's nothing more satisfying than getting the top scorer and locking him down."
The Gaels needed Hermanson's perimeter presence on the offensive end, because the rest of the Gaels hit just 4 of 18 3-point attempts.
"It was an awesome performance on both ends of the court," Saint Mary's guard Joe Rahon said of Hermanson's outing.
Rahon had 10 points and Jock Landale added 13 for the Gaels (6-0). Perhaps the most telling statistic was that Saint Mary's had 21 assists on 27 field goals. The Gaels' ability to work the ball for good shots impressed Stanford coach Jerod Haase.
"It's every coach's dream to have that many good shooters and good passers on the team," Haase said.
Stanford (6-2) got 12 points from reserve Grant Verhoeven, all in the second half, while Robert Cartwright scored 10 points.
The game was decided in the opening minutes of the second half.
Saint Mary's scored the first 12 points of the second half to turn a four-point halftime deficit into a 38-30 lead with 16:12 left. Three-point shots by Emmett Naar and Hermanson highlighted the 12-0 run.
"In the first half, I thought we played with a little more grit," Haase said.
The Gaels made just 3 of 14 3-point shots in the first half when they scored just 26 points.
"But I wasn't worried about that," Bennett said. "We have too many good shooters."
Instead, Bennett's halftime talk focused on defense after Stanford shot 50 percent in the first half.
It paid off. The Cardinal missed their first seven shots in the second half, and they were never able to overcome that scoreless stretch over the first 4:46 of the second half.
Reid Travis, Stanford's leading scorer at 17.4 points per game, scored just eight points, all in the first half, before Gaels forward Dane Pineau took over the defensive assignment in the second half.
Verhoeven scored seven points in a Cardinal run that got the deficit down to three points with 6:46 left, but Hermanson nailed another 3-pointer to end the threat and begin a 16-3 Saint Mary's run that included four shots from beyond the arc.
"Making threes solves a lot of problems," Bennett said..
NOTES: The Gaels' current No. 12 ranking is the highest in school history. The previous high was 14th early in the 1958-59 season. ... Saint Mary's was the first ranked opponent Stanford faced this season. The Cardinal were 2-3 against ranked foes last season. ... Stanford plays fifth-ranked Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., on Saturday. ... Saint Mary's plays all five of its remaining nonconference games at home, starting with a Dec. 8 game against Texas-Arlington. ... Stanford started the same five players in all eight games this season, and Saint Mary's started the same five in each of its six games.