GAME NOTES: The Saint Mary's Gaels take their four-game win streak on the road on Thursday night, as they battle the San Diego Toreros in a West Coast Conference conflict at Jenny Craig Pavilion.
Saint Mary's posted an 89-61 rout of Loyola Marymount last Saturday to extend its recent string of wins and improve to 16-5 overall and 6-2 in league play. The Gaels have been helped by ample chances at home (13-1), with just a 3-2 ledger in road games. They are beginning a four-game road trip on Thursday, which continues on Saturday against BYU.
San Diego is opening a four-game homestand on Thursday, with the momentum of a 65-63 win over Portland bringing it into the stretch. The Toreros are currently at 12-10 overall, but they are just 3-6 against the rest of the WCC. They will host Pacific next.
The Gaels have won 11 straight encounters with the Toreros, claiming a 41-35 all-time series advantage in the process.
Brad Waldow recorded a double-double (27 points, 10 rebounds) in leading Saint Mary's past Loyola Marymount. The Gaels drained an even 50 percent of their shots from the floor and outscored the Lions both from beyond the arc (24-6) and at the free-throw line (23-15).
Saint Mary's often performs at an efficient level, sinking 47.2 percent of their shots from the field en route to the fifth-best scoring average in the WCC (76.3 ppg). Waldow (16.7 ppg, 7.5 rpg) headlines the effort, as the leading scorer among five contributors netting in double figures, while ranking second in the league in field goal percentage (.603). Filling out the rest of the list are Stephen Holt (13.9 ppg, 5 apg), who is fourth in the conference in assists, Beau Levesque (11.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg), James Walker III (10.6 ppg) and Kerry Carter (10.5 ppg).
Johnny Dee nailed all four of his shots from 3-point range and finished with 21 points to help San Diego hold off Portland. Dennis Kramer added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Toreros, who hit on 50 percent of their shots from the floor, while limiting the Pilots to just 38.3 percent.
San Diego is not scoring at the same rate as are the Gaels, netting just 67.9 ppg, which ranks last in the WCC. The Toreros have made up for it to an extent by holding foes to 63.9 ppg on 41.5 percent shooting. Dee (17.1 ppg) is one of the conference's best pure scorers, knocking down 43 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc and 93.4 percent at the free-throw line. Duda Sanadze (12.6 ppg) serves as the club's second option, while Kramer (11.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg) finishes well around the rim. Christopher Anderson (10.2 ppg, 5.8 apg) can also score, but is more valuable as a passer, leading the WCC in assists.
Neither of these teams relies much on their reserves. With their superior balance across the starting lineup, the Gaels will have the upper hand against the hometown Toreros.
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