Aidan Mahaney scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half and No. 18 Saint Mary’s picked up its 11th consecutive victory by outlasting San Francisco 68-59 in West Coast Conference play on Thursday night at Moraga, Calif.
Coach Randy Bennett, in his 22nd season with Saint Mary’s, picked up his 500th career victory. The first-place Gaels (20-4, 9-0 WCC) next will host No. 12 Gonzaga in a Saturday showdown.
Alex Ducas scored 16 of his game-high 18 points in the first half and collected eight rebounds to help the Gaels defeat the Dons for the eighth consecutive time. Logan Johnson had 12 points, Augustas Marciulionis added 11 points and Mitchell Saxen contributed 10 points and 10 rebounds for Saint Mary’s.
Khalil Shabazz scored 16 points and Marcus Williams added 15 for San Francisco (15-10, 4-6), which had a three-game winning streak snapped. Isaiah Hawthorne had 10 points for the Dons.
Saint Mary’s won despite shooting a shaky 32.7 percent, including 4 of 17 (23.5 percent) from 3-point range. The Gaels held a 39-23 rebounding edge.
The Dons connected on 38.8 percent of their shots and were 5 of 19 (26.3 percent) from behind the arc.
The Gaels were up by nine at halftime. The lead was elevated to 44-31 with 15:43 remaining after Mahaney made five free throws during a 6-0 run.
Saint Mary’s led 49-38 after two free throws by Saxen with 10:51 left before the Dons ripped off 12 straight points. Williams drained consecutive 3-pointers to move San Francisco within one before Shabazz scored on a layup to give the Dons a 50-49 edge with 5:36 left.
The Gaels went back ahead on a basket from Johnson, but Williams drilled another trey to give San Francisco a 53-51 lead with 4:54 left. Johnson hit two free throws to tie it with 4:28 remaining.
Ndewedo Newbury’s layup gave the Dons a 55-53 lead with 4:09 left before the Gaels scored the next eight points.
Saint Mary’s went back ahead at 56-55 on Mahaney’s basket with 3:32 left. Mahaney later drained a 3-pointer to make it 61-55 with 1:45 to play.
Mahaney fouled out 23 seconds later, but Saint Mary’s closed out the win.
Ducas was key in the first half as the Gaels took a 36-27 lead into the break.
Johnson’s 3-pointer with 9.5 seconds left accounted for the nine-point halftime lead.
–Field Level Media