STOCKTON (AP) — Jock Landale had 22 points and 12 rebounds and No. 18 Saint Mary’s survived a long second-half drought to win for the 14th time in 15 games, 74-70 over Pacific on Thursday night.
The Gaels (20-2, 10-1 West Coast Conference) built a 19-point lead before going 8:43 without a basket in the second half as the Tigers (8-16, 2-9) cut the deficit to three. But Saint Mary’s used free throws to stay in front and have their 10th straight 20-win season.
T.J. Wallace and Anthony Townes scored 15 points each as the Tigers lost their sixth straight overall and ninth in a row to Saint Mary’s.
Pacific used a 16-2 run to cut Saint Mary’s big lead down to five on a 3-pointer by Wallace. A tip-in by Tonko Vuko cut it to 62-59 with just over 5 minutes to go.
Emmett Naar and Dane Pineau each made two free throws before Joe Rahon ended the long shooting drought with a layup for a three-point play that made it 69-61. That was the only basket for Saint Mary’s in the final 12 minutes of the game.
Rahon finished with 14 points.
The Gaels were unable to pull away in the first half until scoring six straight to take a 10-point lead on Landale’s dunk with 21 seconds left. But Wallace responded with a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 41-34 at the break.
Saint Mary’s: The Gaels had done a good job staying focused on the task at hand during this seven-game stretch of games between showdowns with Gonzaga.
But after taking a 19-point lead early in the second half, they fell apart and struggled to hold on at the end. Saint Mary’s has won the first five to keep pace with top-ranked Gonzaga and has just two more warmups until hosting the Bulldogs next Saturday.
Pacific: The Tigers are struggling in coach Damon Stoudamire’s first season and remain tied for last in the conference. But they showed progress this game with the big second-half run second before faltering down the stretch, missing seven straight shots after getting within three.
Saint Mary’s: Visits San Diego on Saturday.
Pacific: Visits Pepperdine on Saturday.
More AP college basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25