No. 17 Gaels Lock up a Share of the WCC Regular Season Title with Big Win over San Diego

Saint Mary’s has won 15 games in a row—best in the country. With an 88–62 victory over the Toreros, the Gaels are now guaranteed at least a portion of the conference title. And they just racked up career highs a-plenty.

by Ryan Barnett, Assistant Athletic Director for Communications | February 25, 2024

Make it 15 in a row! The No. 17 Saint Mary's Gaels (23–6, 14–0 in the West Coast Conference) continued their epic streak of consecutive victories, defeating the San Diego Toreros (16–13, 6–8 WCC) 88–62. The win guarantees the Gaels at least a portion of the WCC Regular Season Title for the second consecutive season. 

Of course, the Gaels have their eyes set on the next hurdle: an outright regular season conference title, which they can clinch with one more victory—or one more Gonzaga loss. Saturday night’s win also guaranteed the Gaels a bye all the way to the WCC Tournament semifinals, set to take place on Monday, March 11. The win also marks the Gaels’ 14th consecutive conference victory. That’s a new program record, just one of the numerous impressive feats reached in tonight's victory.   

The Gaels opened the game shooting 10 for 12 from the field, to build a 25–13 lead at the 10:30 mark. The combination of stellar ball movement and dominance in the interior offensively led to the Gaels gaudy early offensive numbers. The shooting cooled off just a tick, however, and the Gaels still went into the break with a 57% clip and a 13 point lead at 43–30. Mitchell Saxen led the charge with 12 points on 5 for 6 shooting. Aidan Mahaney added nine, while Alex Ducas chipped in six points and six rebounds, and Augustas Marciulionis contributed six points and seven assists. In total, the Gaels dished out 14 assists on 17 made first half buckets. 

Building that Lead

The offensive production continued in the second half, as the Gaels picked up their first 20+ point lead at 58–37 going into the first media timeout. That lead ballooned to as many as 31 with a minute to go, as the Gaels kept the Toreros at a comfortable distance throughout the entire second half. 

The second frame belonged to Alex Ducas, who knocked down 4 for 5 three point attempts and ripped down six rebounds. Mitchell Saxen continued his domination of the Toreros on the inside, with eight points and five rebounds in the second half, while Augustas Marciulionis went for seven points and four assists in the second. The Gaels shot better than 50% from beyond the arc in the second half, after being limited to just 33% in the first half from three. 

When the final buzzer sounded, Mitchell Saxen led the Gaels with 20 points, shooting 8 for 11 from the field. Saxen also added seven rebounds and two blocks, making his presence felt in the trenches. Alex Ducas scored 18 points, with all 18 coming from beyond the arc on 6 for 7 shooting from deep. Ducas was also the team's leading rebounder, tying his career-high with 12 boards. Aidan Mahaney put together a brilliant all-around stat line, with 15 points, five rebounds, and a career-best six assists. Augustas Marciulionis joined Ducas as the second Gael with a double-double, going for 13 points and 10 assists, while also swiping for steals. 

The Many Highs

The Gaels’ season and career high marks Saturday read like a laundry list. Starting from the top, Mitchell Saxen's eight made field goals matched his season high, set against UNLV on December 16. Alex Ducas tied a career-high with 12 rebounds, marking his second double-double of the year. Aidan Mahaney dished out a career-high six assists, while committing zero turnovers for the ninth time this season. Augustas Marciulionis tied his career-high assist tally with 10 for the third time this season, good for a part of his second double-double. Mason Forbes was a perfect 3 for 3 from the field, including knocking down the first three pointer of his collegiate career. 

As a team, the Gaels dished out a season-best 27 assists. The win set a new program record for consecutive conference wins at 14 in a row and marked the second time in program history that the Gaels have clinched a share of the WCC Regular Season Title in back to back seasons. The last time around was the 2010–11 and 2011–12 seasons. 

High Percentages

Six Gaels shot 50% or better from the field, helping the team to a 56% shooting night. Cade Bennett scored his only field goal attempt, while Mason Forbes was a perfect 3 for 3 from the field and 1 for 1 from three. Augustas Marciulionis knocked down 50% of his shots from two and three, at 3 for 6 and 1 for 2 respectively. 

Luke Barrett was the Gaels top scorer off the bench, with nine points on 4 for 5 shooting. Alex Ducas made the tough shots look easy, shooting 60% from the field and an astonishing 86% from three. Rounding out the group was Mitchell Saxen, who bullied his way to an 8 for 11 (73%) clip, all within 10 feet of the basket. This game was the Gaels’ tenth in which they've shot better than 50% from the field this season. Saint Mary's also accomplished this feat in the 2021–22 season. 

Final Road Contest 

The Gaels now head to Malibu for their final road contest of the season at Pepperdine on February 29. Saint Mary’s defeated Pepperdine at home on February 15, winning 103–59. With one more win against the Waves, the Gaels could clinch their first ever perfect road season—and, more notable, an outright conference title, which would be their first since 2012. 

February 26 Update: Climbing to No. 17 in the Country

The Gaels’ wins last week also saw Saint Mary’s climb in national rankings. The Associated Press poll and USA Today Coaches Poll released on February 26 both move SMC up a spot, to No. 17 in the country. NCAA NET rankings, which crunch numbers to yield national rankings, puts Saint Mary’s at No. 15. 

UP NEXT: The Gaels face Pepperdine in Malibu on Saturday, February 29. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m. 

READ MORE: This story as it appears at

Gaels Outmuscle and Outlast Dons for Big Home Victory. SMC Now Has the Longest Winning Streak in the Nation.

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Story updated February 29, 2024 at 10 p.m. Pacific.