San Francisco (7-9) at Saint Mary's-CA (12-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 12, 11 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McKeon Pavilion (3,500) -- Moraga, California. Television: CSN-CA. Home Record: USF 5-3, SMC 9-0. Away Record: USF 1-3, SMC 2-2. Neutral Record: USF 1-3, SMC 1-2. Conference Record: USF 0-3, SMC 1-1. Series Record: San Francisco leads, 103-70.
GAME NOTES: The San Francisco Dons will try to snap their 14-game losing streak versus the Gaels when they invade McKeon Pavilion for a West Coast Conference tilt against Saint Mary's on Saturday.
The Dons have dropped 14 straight games to Saint Mary's as they have not been able to down the Gaels since the first meeting of the 2005-06 season. San Francisco still owns a 103-70 all-time series lead in the rivalry that dates back to 1947.
San Francisco has lost its last three games since entering WCC action on Jan. 2. The Dons have been right there each time, as their losses to Santa Clara, BYU, and San Diego all came by five points or less, but they have not been able to come up with the big plays down the stretch. Coach Rex Walters has seen his squad play perform decently on the offensive end of the floor with 70.0 points per game and a .392 percent conversion rate from beyond the arc, but it is last in the WCC in field goal percentage defense (0.436) and second to last in points allowed per contest (68.1).
Randy Bennett's Gaels came up just short of an upset of WCC rival Gonzaga their last time out, falling to the Bulldogs, 83-78, after trailing by as many as 20 in the second half. The setback snapped SMC's four-game winning streak and dropped its record to 12-4 overall including a 1-1 mark in WCC play. The Gaels, who are perfect at home so far, are second in the conference in scoring margin with a positive-12.6 point differential.
The Dons got off to a slow start against San Diego their last time out and went into halftime trailing by 14 points. USF made up most of the ground after the break and cut the deficit to just one point, but the Toreros refused to surrender their lead. Cody Doolin had a game-high 19 points for San Francisco which also got 16 points from Tim Derksen and 11 more from Cole Dickerson. Doolin has really developed his game since producing 9.3 points and 3.8 assists per contest a season ago. The junior floor general is now averaging 13.3 points and 6.4 assists per contest. Doolin has been able to tally helpers with ease due to his high-scoring teammates Cole Dickerson (15.6 ppg) and De'End Parker (13.1 ppg.). Dickerson is also pacing the WCC on the glass with 11.3 rebounds per tilt while Parker's .513 efficiency rating from 3-point range also leads the league.
With leading scorer Matthew Dellavedova struggling from the field (4-for-15), Stephen Holt stepped up to lead the Gaels with 23 points in their five-point setback at Gonzaga on Thursday. SMC fell behind by 20 points in the second stanza before it rallied to make it a competitive affair. Dellavedova tried to tie it up as time expired, but his off-balance 3-point attempt was off the mark. The senior point guard from Australia has improved to net 17.2 points and dish out 6.4 assists per game this season despite being the center of every opponent's defensive gameplan.Holt (11.8 ), Beau Levesque (10.2 ), and Brad Waldow (10.2 ) are all carrying double-digit scoring averages as well.
San Francisco always has a shooters chance due to its ability to convert from distance, but the Gaels will be playing with a chip on their shoulder after the disappointing result of their trip to Spokane. SMC will bounce back as Dellavedova gets back into a groove versus USF's suspect defensive abilities.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Mary's-CA 83, San Francisco 70
01/12 10:50:54 ET