GAME NOTES: The streaking Gaels of Saint Mary's head to Jenny Craig Pavilion on Saturday night to do battle with the San Diego Toreros in West Coast Conference action.
Currently second in the WCC standings with a record of 9-1, trailing only nationally-ranked Gonzaga heading into the weekend, the Gaels are riding an eight-game winning streak and have claimed victory in 12 of the last 13 outings overall, the lone loss coming at Gonzaga last month.
SMC was pitted against Santa Clara on the road Thursday night and had very little trouble dismissing the Broncos by a score of 84-63 which means the squad has won five of the last six contests by double digits.
As for the Toreros, they took out BYU at home two nights ago with a 74-68 triumph, marking the team's second win in a row after dropping four straight outings. As a result, USD is now 6-4 in league play which places it fourth in the standings.
The Gaels are ahead in the all-time series by a count of 39-35, thanks in part to an 81-48 blowout of USD at home back in January.
Beau Levesque came off the bench to knock down an impressive 6-of-7 shots behind the 3-point line and 7-of-11 from the floor overall as he finished with a game-high 24 points in just 28 minutes of action for the Gaels in their lopsided win against Santa Clara. Brad Waldow added 14 points and eight rebounds, while Mitchell Young contributed 12 points and a game-high nine boards as the team crushed the Broncos on the glass, 37-19. Curiously, Matthew Dellavedova scored only four points, all of them at the free-throw line as he missed his four attempts from the field, but he did contribute with nine assists. Dellavedova remains the leading scorer for the program with 15.8 ppg, but it must be comforting to know that even when he doesn't provide much in the way of points the team can still cruise to victory. The star guard has issued 158 assists, against only 64 turnovers, with many of those dishes landing in the hands of Stephen Holt (11.7 ppg) and Levesque (11.0 ppg) who help the program generate an impressive 78.0 ppg.
San Diego trailed by as many as eight points in the first half, the team shooting only 1-of-6 behind the 3-point line in the period, yet the Toreros moved out to a 40-36 advantage at the break and then shot 52.2 percent from the floor over the final 20 minutes in order to take down the Cougars of BYU. Chris Manresa recorded a double-double for the hosts with 10 points and 10 rebounds, his efforts on the glass matched by Dennis Kramer who also logged eight points. Johnny Dee responded with a team-best 19 points and before fouling out Ken Rancifer chipped in 16 points and six assists for the squad as well. A 40.6 percent shooter beyond the arc on the season, Dee is the only player scoring in double figures for the Toreros with his 14.9 ppg, although Rancifer (9.9 ppg) and Chris Anderson (9.4 ppg) are not that far off. Anderson is more of a facilitator often times, having recorded 136 assists, not to mention showing quick hands at the other end of the floor with 54 steals as well.
The fact that the Gaels were able to roll to a comfortable victory the last time out even with Dellavedova not playing a major role in the scoring department shows that SMC is a well-balanced program. However, expect the guard to show more life at the offensive end of the floor on Saturday.
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