No. 15 St. Mary’s Gaels at Portland Pilots
St. Mary’s is 24-4 and 13-2 in the West Coast Conference after losing to Gonzaga and then San Francisco on Thursday. But that leaves them in second place in the WCC, just game behind Gonzaga. Portland is 4-11 in the WCC after losing three straight. These teams met on Jan. 27 with St. Mary’s winning 72-55 at home.
Gaels are struggling
A two-game losing streak is not a big deal for most programs but it is for St. Mary’s. The Gaels handled San Francisco two weeks ago, beating them by 36 points. But on Thursday, the Dons upset the Gaels, 70-63 on the Hilltop. Jock Landale scored 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting, while Evan Fitzner added 17 points and five boards. Landale was hampered by foul trouble most of the night and fouled out with 1:41 left, playing just 27 minutes. Point guard Emmett Naar chipped in with 16 points and five assists in 40 minutes. St. Mary’s shot 42.9 percent from the field and 4-of-14 from beyond the arc. The Dons shot 46 percent from the field and turned the ball over just seven times.
Londale leads the team with 21.9 points per game, 10.4 rebounds and 65.3 percent from the field. Naar lads in assists with 8.7 per game. On the season, St. Mary’s averages 78 points per game and leads the nation with 52.1 percent shooting (41.1% 3pt). They allow 64.8 points per game (20th) on 44.3 percent shooting (32.1% 3pt).
Tough situation for Pilots
It’s tough to lose three straight games and then play St. Mary’s off two straight losses. But the Pilots can play better. They didn’t on Thursday against Santa Clara, falling 81-72 at home. Marcus Shaver Jr. led the Pilots with 19 points, while D’Marques Tyson added 16 points in 31 minutes. The problem for Portland was defense as they allowed the Broncos to shoot 52.7 percent from the floor and 8-of-20 from 3-point range. They were also outrebounded by five and forced just seven turnovers. They did make 14-of-17 from the line and committed just nine turnovers.
Portland is led by Shaver, who averages 11.8 points per game, while Phillipp Hartwich leads in rebounds with 8.3 per game and in blocks with 2.4. On the season, the Pilots average 70.1 points per game on 44.7 percent shooting (38.4% 3pt). They allow 74.1 points per game on 43.3 percent shooting (34.5% 3pt).
St. Mary’s is:
- 6-1 ATS last 7 after an ATS loss.
- 4-10-1 ATS last 15 home games.
The road team is 11-4 ATS the last 15 in this series. Normally, I don’t like to lay this kind of chalk on the road but the Gaels are the best shooting team in the nation coming off a bad shooting game for them. This one is going to be ugly. Lay the wood.