Gaels Flex Offensive Muscle in Victory Over Portland

Men’s Basketball takes care of business against the Pilots. The 95–52 victory is the best all-around showing yet for SMC in the West Coast Conference season.

by SMC Athletics | January 12, 2024

In what was easily their best all-around showing in the young West Coast Conference season, the Saint Mary's Gaels took care of business against the Portland Pilots to the tune of a 95–52 victory on Thursday night. Saint Mary’s is now 3–0 in WCC play and 12-6 for the season.

The Gaels defended their home court with pride in their conference opener, dominating from the opening tip to the final horn. All 12 active Gaels appeared in the contest and each had a hand in the decisive victory. 

It was a dream first half for the Gaels, who used a three point barrage to get early separation from the Pilots. The Gaels first five made buckets were all from downtown from either Alex Ducas or Aidan Mahaney. Portland looked to respond early, cutting the deficit to eight points at 22–14, but the Gaels answered with a 23–0 run, to open their lead beyond the 30 point mark. While the Pilots did eventually stop the bleeding, the offensive onslaught continued for Saint Mary's, who took a 56–23 lead into the break. Aidan Mahaney led all scorers with 19 points in the first frame, while Alex Ducas added 15 to go along with a team-high five boards. That duo shot a combined 10–14 from beyond the arc. Augustas Marciulionis continued his stellar point guard play with seven points and six assists. 

While the Gaels cooled off a tick in the second half, their defense continued to stifle the Pilots’ attack, as the Saint Mary's lead continued to grow throughout the half. By the time the clock hit zeroes, Saint Mary's had built a 43 point cushion between themselves and Portland, cruising to victory. Harry Wessels had a solid second half for the Gaels, scoring eight points and reeling in six boards, while Joshua Jefferson scored seven and assisted on four more buckets. 



Career-high ties and bests

For the second time in as many weeks, Aidan Mahaney matched his career-high of 25 points, while setting a new career mark of seven made three pointers to lead all scorers. He has now scored 25 on five separate occasions, including three times this season.  Not far behind Mahaney was Alex Ducas, who tallied 17 points on 6–9 shooting, including 5–7 from beyond the arc, while falling just one rebound shy of his second career double-double. 

While both Mahaney and Ducas had huge scoring nights, arguably the player with the biggest contribution to the win was Joshua Jefferson. Sophomore power forward Jefferson scored 14 points, two shy of his career-high, while adding five rebounds. Where Jefferson truly shined, however, were as a passer and on defense. 

The Gaels played inside out basketball from the get-go, and Jefferson took full advantage of the opportunity to show his unselfishness. The big man dished out a career-high eight assists, double his previous high set against Northern Kentucky and Davidson earlier this season, while not turning the ball over once. 

On the defensive front, Jefferson was the Pilots’ worst nightmare. Often matched up with point guard Tyler Robertson, Jefferson made sure nothing went easy for the Portland offense, coming up with a career-high six steals and coming up inches shy of a few more, with multiple deflections throughout the contest. And all of this in just 24 minutes of play. While Gaels fans have become used to seeing the star power of Ducas, Mahaney, and Saxen, Joshua Jefferson continues to demonstrate why he too is a star in this Gaels program. 

Welcome to the Scoring Sheet, Kevin Gad!

For the first time in his young collegiate career, redshirt freshman wing Kevin Gad scored, knocking down a couple of buckets in the waning minutes of the game. Gad first reeled in an offensive board and, without returning to the hardwood, flipped the ball up and in as the shot clock expired for his first collegiate bucket. He followed that up with a wing three that touched nothing but net for his first collegiate triple. With Gad's scoring effort against Portland, every active Gael has scored this season.

UP NEXT: The Gaels head southwest to Santa Clara for a date with the Broncos at 4 p.m. on Saturday, January 13.

READ MORE: This story as it was originally published at

Marciulionis Leads Gaels to Dogfight Victory over LMU in Men’s Basketball

Like Father, Like Daughter: SMC’s Ali Bamberger '24 Scores Big in Record Books