MORAGA (AP) — Calvin Hermanson scored seven of his 17 points as part of a big run in the second half and No. 23 Saint Mary’s pulled away to beat Pacific 62-50 on Thursday night.
Jock Landale added 10 points and 10 rebounds while Joe Rahon had nine points and nine assists for Saint Mary’s, which has won 10 of 11.
The Gaels (16-2, 6-1 West Coast Conference) let most of a 19-point lead slip away and were up 35-30 early in the second half before Hermanson sparked a 17-4 run. Landale had four points during the run while Tanner Krebbs made two of his three 3-pointers.
T.J. Wallace scored 13 points for Pacific. The Tigers (8-12, 2-5) have lost eight straight and 10 of 11 in the series between the schools.
Saint Mary’s finished with 13 3-pointers, one shy of its season high and three more than the Gaels had from inside the arc.
Saint Mary’s shot well early from the perimeter and had no problem against Pacific’s zone while building a 30-11 lead with 6:40 left in the first half. Seven of the Gaels’ first 12 made baskets came from beyond the arc. Hermanson had two while Emmett Naar added one from 30 feet.
Pacific came right back to keep it close.
The Gaels made only one shot over the final 6 1/2 minutes while the Tigers ended the half on a 14-3 run to pull within 33-25.
Pacific: The Tigers put up a good fight for 24 minutes and continued to chip away at the Gaels’ big lead even as the outcome was clear. That’s a good sign for coach Damon Stoudamire’s young team, which fell to 0-3 against Top 25 teams this season. It would help if the Tigers got more balanced scoring. Four players reached double figures but no one else scored more than two points.
Saint Mary’s: The Gaels bounced back nicely after getting blown out last week by No. 4 Gonzaga. As usual, it was the defense that paved the way. Saint Mary’s held Pacific 19 points below their season average of 69.1 points. The Gaels had 19 assists on 23 baskets.
The Gaels dropped four spots after losing to Gonzaga but are in line to move back up after losses by No. 15 Notre Dame, No. 19 Florida and No. 22 Xavier this week. It all depends if Randy Bennett’s club can hold serve against Pepperdine this weekend.
Pacific: Returns to Stockton to host BYU on Saturday.
Saint Mary’s: Hosts Pepperdine on Saturday night. The Gaels have lost three of the lost four against the Waves following a 17-game winning streak in the series.
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