Gaels Win! Saint Mary’s Hands Colorado State Their First Loss of the Season
On the court in Fort Collins, SMC takes down the No. 13 ranked Rams 64–61. Augustus Marciulionis shoots a career-high 18 points, and a streak by Joshua Jefferson wins it for the Gaels.
A battle of two teams with conflicting styles on the basketball court is what we had on Saturday night, as the defensive juggernaut Gaels (5-5) made their way to Fort Collins to square off with the unbeaten high scoring Colorado State Rams (9-1). In this one, defense reigned supreme, as the Gaels downed the Rams 64-61, handing them their first loss of the 2023–24 campaign.
The start of the matchup was reminiscent of the Gaels contest against Boise State eight days ago. This time around, Colorado State got off to a 8–0 run in the first 2:13, prompting a Coach Randy Bennett timeout. Saint Mary's responded with a 24–6 run of their own, taking a double-digit lead on a long Augustas Marciulionis two.
The Rams roared back with a 12–1 run, bringing the score to 28–26 in favor of the hosts with three minutes to go in the half. This led to a mad scramble for momentum heading into the break, but the Gaels seized it as Mitchell Saxen ripped down an offensive rebound and scored a mid-range jumper at the horn. That put Saint Mary's up 33–32 as they headed into the locker room. Marciulionis was the standout with 11 points and three assists with no turnovers, as the Gaels shot 51.9% from the field.
The defense shored up at the start of the second half, as the Gaels got out to a 55–46 lead. But they surrendered that after allowing an 11–1 run. Down 57–56 with two minutes remaining, the Gaels looked like a team on a mission. Sparked by a quick five points from Joshua Jefferson, the Gaels reaffirmed their lead at 61–57 and were able to hit their free throws and create defensive stops down the stretch to ice the game, eventually winning 64–61.
Augustus Marciulionis set a new career-mark with 18 points on 8–11 shooting. Joshua Jefferson added 16 points and 13 rebounds for his first career double-double, while Aidan Mahaney chipped in 10. The Gaels defense continued to shine, holding one of the top offenses in the country to just 61 points, their lowest tally this season.
The Gaels take on UNLV in Phoenix on December 16 as part of the Jerry Colangelo Classic. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m. Pacific.
Story updated December 10, 2023 at 10 a.m.