EditorsNote: tweaks headline and changes to Saint Mary’s throughout
Saint Mary’s held San Diego without a field goal for 10 1/2 minutes while taking a commanding lead in the first half Saturday night, and the 13th-ranked Gaels then held on through a tense finish for a 65-62 West Coast Conference victory over the Toreros in San Diego.
Jock Landale had 22 of his game-high 34 points in the first half, during which Saint Mary’s (23-2, 12-0 WCC) built a 36-24 lead en route to its 18th straight victory, including 12th in 12 WCC games.
The win capped a two-game sweep for the Gaels over the Toreros, with Saint Mary’s having won the first meeting 70-63 in Moraga, Calif., last month.
Isaiah Pineiro had a team-high 24 points for San Diego (15-9, 6-6), which was coming off a 69-59 loss at Gonzaga on Thursday.
San Diego led 14-9 at the 13:28 mark of the first half before Landale hit a jumper that triggered a 22-3 burst that produced a 31-17 Saint Mary’s lead.
Jordan Ford, Landale and Emmett Naar fueled the run with 3-pointers, and Landale added a three-point play.
The Toreros didn’t make their next field goal until just 2:32 remained in the half, when Pineiro hit a jumper.
After Tanner Krebs hit a pair of free throws to give Saint Mary’s a 55-44 lead with 8:12 remaining, the Gaels scored only on a pair of Landale free throws over nearly the next six minutes as San Diego rallied within 57-54.
Ford ended the Saint Mary’s field goal drought with a jumper at the 2:20 mark to re-establish a five-point lead.
San Diego got within 59-57 on a 3-pointer by Isaiah Wright with still 1:20 to play, but Landale countered with a jumper with 59 seconds left and Ford hit another with 21 seconds to go to help St. Mary’s barely hang on, surviving a missed potential game-tying 3-point attempt by Wright in the final seconds.
Landale had a game-high 18 rebounds to complement his 34 points for the Gaels, who haven’t been beaten since an 83-81 overtime loss to Georgia in a non-conference tournament in November.
Naar added 11 points for Saint Mary’s, which shot 59.1 percent from the field.
Tyler Williams had 12 points and Wright 10 for the Toreros, who were humiliated 71-27 in Saint Mary’s visit last February.
San Diego shot 44.9 percent overall and outscored St. Mary’s 24-18 on 3-pointers.
—Field Level Media