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Field Level Media - Professional sports content solutions | FLM

Feb 21, 2024 1:34 am

No. 18 Saint Mary’s shakes off San Francisco, wins 14th straight

gaels, randy bennett

Mitchell Saxen had 20 points and 13 rebounds and No. 18 Saint Mary’s overcame a tough challenge from San Francisco to extend its winning streak to 14 games with a 70-66 victory on Tuesday night in Moraga, Calif.

Alex Ducas scored 18 points and Aidan Mahaney finished with 12 for Saint Mary’s (22-6, 13-0 West Coast Conference), which has a 2 1/2-game lead over Gonzaga for first place in the conference.

Marcus Williams scored 26 points to lead San Francisco (21-7, 10-3), which had won six in a row.

San Francisco took a 58-54 lead on a pullup jumper by Ryan Beasley with 5:25 left, but Saxen later answered with a three-point play to move the Gaels back in front for good at 59-58 with 4:28 remaining.

The Dons were within two points with just under two minutes remaining, but Saxen and Luke Barrett made two free throws apiece and Williams missed the front end of a one-and-one in between as Saint Mary’s led 68-62 with 53 seconds remaining.

Saint Mary’s, which came in giving up an average of 57.7 points per game, second fewest in Division I, took a 30-25 lead into the break.

The Gaels took the lead for the rest of the first half with a 6-0 run that put them ahead 15-11 with 9:59 left, but they could only stretch their advantage to six on two occasions before halftime.

Williams scored five points in consecutive trips down the floor to pull the Dons within a point at 26-25 with 1:50 left in the half, but Saint Mary’s scored the final four points of the period for the five-point cushion at the break.

Both teams struggled with their accuracy in the first half.

The Dons shot 37 percent from the field, while the Gaels shot 39.3 percent but owned a 24-12 advantage in rebounds.

Mike Sharavjamts and Williams made 3-pointers in the first four minutes of the second half to help San Francisco stay close.

The Dons took their first lead since early in the first half at 46-45 on a 3-pointer by Ndewedo Newbury with 11:36 left, but Saxen quickly answered with a three-point play to retake the lead, 48-46.

–Field Level Media

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