Gaels Last Unbeaten Team in West Coast Conference Play After Statement Win at San Francisco
Saint Mary's defeats the Dons 77–60 to affirm their place atop the WCC.
In an early candidate for matchup of the year, the Gaels (14-6, 5-0 WCC) continued their red hot play, defeating the San Francisco Dons (14-7, 5-1 WCC) 77–60 on January 20 to affirm themselves atop the West Coast Conference standings as the lone unbeaten team in conference play. The Gaels never trailed the Dons, who suffered their first loss on their home court tonight. This win marks the Gaels 11th in their last 12.
It might have been pouring outside Saturday night. The Gaels sure made it rain inside War Memorial Gymnasium, knocking down their first six perimeter jumpers, including three from Joshua Jefferson, to build an early 19–7 lead, prompting an early San Francisco timeout. The Dons regrouped, cutting the deficit to as little as six points. But the Gaels’ potent combination of lockdown defense and three point sharpshooting kept them ahead for the entirety of the half, and they rolled into the halftime break with a 39–28 lead.
Aidan Mahaney led all scorers with 14 points, shooting 4–7 from deep in the first half, while Joshua Jefferson added 13 points on 5–7 shooting from the field and a perfect 3–3 from three. Augustas Marciulionis only scored two first half points, but he ripped down seven boards and dished out four assists, both team highs.
Full speed ahead to victory
Mitchell Saxen scored the first two buckets of the second half as part of an 11 point frame, as the Gaels continued to expand their lead in the second half, en route to the 17 point victory. Behind Saxen's 11 second half points, Jefferson added eight more to finish with a career-high total of 21, while Mahaney also dropped eight in the second half.
Aidan Mahaney scored 22 in the game, marking his fifth 20+ point scoring output of the season. Joshua Jefferson was not far behind; along with his 21 points, he buried four of five three pointers and had 10 rebounds, for his third career double-double. With Jefferson developing his jumpshot to go along with his strong post scoring ability, he has become one of the most dangerous players in the WCC.
Mitchell Saxen also reached double figures with 16 points and eight boards for the game. Saxen ranks fifth in the country in offensive rebounding, and added to that cause Saturday night. The big man was part of a Gaels second chance scoring discrepancy of 13–0 against the Dons. Saxen continues to do the unthinkable, tallying more offensive boards than defensive, as he now is +13 in that statistical category.
Augustas Marciulionis stuffed the statsheet with nine points, nine rebounds, and seven assists.
While the Gaels did build an 11 point lead at the half, turnovers were what kept the Dons in the game in the first half, as Saint Mary's coughed up the ball eight times leading to nine USF points. In the second half, the Gaels cut the turnover number down to four and surrendered just one point off of turnovers. A team that is able to make adjustments to improve their game after a break often is a winning team, and the Gaels proved that against USF.
UP NEXT: The Gaels host University of the Pacific on Thursday, January 25. Tip off is set for 8 p.m.