Saint Mary's-CA (10-4) at Portland (9-6)
01/04/2014 7:37 AM
01/04/2014 7:42 AM
GAME NOTES: After a strong start to the season, the Saint Mary's Gaels look to get things back on track following a 1-4 record in the past five games, as they travel to face the Portland Pilots in West Coast Conference action Saturday.
The Gaels started the season 9-0, but have since gone 1-4 in their past five games, including a 73-51 setback Thursday against conference foe Gonzaga. Saint Mary's ends a three-game road stint at Portland before returning home to face William Jessup Monday.
Portland has lost two of its last three games, but is coming off a win against Pacific, 72-64, Thursday in West Coast Conference action. The matchup against St. Mary's is the fifth home game for the Pilots in a six-game homestand.
The Gaels hold the all-time series lead, 52-29, in a long-standing conference rivalry.
Gonzaga exploded at the end of the first half against Saint Mary's the last time out, and put the Gaels in a hole they could not recover from. Beau Levesque was the only Saint Mary's player to score in double figures against Gonzaga, recording 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting. He added three rebounds and a steal to his stat line against the Bulldogs. Stephen Holt had nine points in the loss, primarily coming from the free-throw line. Holt connected on 5-of-9 from the charity stripe in 34 minutes on the hardwood. As a team, Saint Mary's shot a dismal 31.9 percent from the floor in the contest.
Brad Waldow is the team's scoring leader this season, averaging 16 ppg. Waldow leads the team in rebounding as well with a 6.7 rpg average, and leads the team in blocks with 23. Holt is second on the Gaels in scoring with a 12.9 ppg mark, with Levesque right behind him at 11.8 ppg. Saint Mary's as a whole is shooting 47.1 percent from the field this season, and has averaged 75.4 ppg in the team's 14 games this season.
Three Portland players recorded double-doubles to lead the Pilots over Pacific, 72-64, giving the team its first win in conference play this season. Thomas van der Mars led all Pilots with 18 points against Pacific, and had a team-high 13 rebounds for the double-double. Ryan Nicholas scored 17 points and grabbed 12 boards, while Bryce Pressley contributed 12 points and 10 rebounds to the winning effort. The Portland defense held Pacific to 32.9 percent shooting from the floor, and 57.1 from the free-throw line in the contest.
Kevin Bailey leads the team with a 17.5 ppg average, and is second on the Pilots in steals (14) and blocks (14) this season. Van der Mars is second on the team with a 13.3. ppg clip, while Nicholas isn't far behind with a 13.1 ppg average. Nicholas leads the Pilots in rebounding with a 9.7 rpg mark. As a team, Portland is shooting 46 percent from the floor this season and 75.1 percent from the charity stripe.
Despite the major setbacks for Saint Mary's, once the Gaels settle into conference play they'll pick things up. The 1-4 record in the past five games isn't the team the nation is used to seeing.
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