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Toreros battle Gaels tough but drop 70-63 decision
Jan. 6, 2018


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MORAGA – The USD Toreros battled the Gaels from start to finish but the host Gaels prevailed with a 70-63 victory to improve to 15-2 and 4-0 in league play. San Diego (12-4, 3-1) was paced by Isaiah Wright (18 points), Isaiah Pineiro (17 points), and Juwan Gray (16 points). Saint Mary’s was paced by their duo of guard Emmett Naar (24 points) and center Jock Landale (22 points, 9 rebounds).

"We battled but we got stuck from that 12 minute mark to the 8 minute mark in the second half that allowed them to get back in it," said head coach Lamont Smith. "We got away from some things that we were having some success with and they made a great run during that stretch and that was the difference in the game."

The game started on a good note for the Toreros. Isaiah Pineiro opened the game with a steal and slam dunk. Isaiah Wright’s trey from the right corner made it 5-2 at 17:41 and Juwan Gray’s trey knotted the score at 8-all. Gray’s second three and a jumper from Olin Carter pushed USD’s lead to 15-9. An Alex Floresca baseline hook shot followed by a driving lay-in and free throw from Wright made it 24-15 with 6:54 left. USD led 26-17 after two free throws from Pineiro, but the Gaels answered with a 5-0 run to make it 26-22.

Gray’s third three from the top made it 31-26, but Cullen Neal answered with an old fashioned three-point play and a second lay-in to knot the score a 31-all. Wright added a driving lay-in and USD’s defense prevented a Gaels three-pointer at the buzzer as the Toreros took a 33-31 lead into the halftime break. Wright led the Toreros with 12 points and Gray followed with 11. The Gaels were led by Jock Landale with 13 points but Saint Mary’s was 0-for-5 from beyond the arc.

After the break Wright scored on a lay-in and was followed by a driving lay-in from Pineiro and free throw to make it 38-31 with 18:34 to go. A three-point play from Wright pushed it to 43-35 and a driving left-handed lay-in from Cameron Neubauer pushed it to 47-39 with 18:34 to go. The Gaels used a 10-2 run that was capped off by back-to-back lay-ins from Emmett Naar to tie it up at 49-all and force the Toreros to call a timeout with 10:25 left.

An Evan Fitzner put-back followed by a Naar reverse lay-in three-point play gave the Gaels a 54-49 lead at the 9:06 mark. Gray’s fourth made trey of the game from the top of the key made it 58-54. A Pineiro jumper with 3:54 left closed the Toreros to within three at 62-59, and another by Pineiro made it 63-61 at 3:07. Landale answered with a bucket inside and Neal stole the ball from USD and cashed in on his own bucket for a 67-61 advantage with 2:10 left. Pineiro’s open look from the top following a timeout was off the mark and Naar was fouled and converted both free throws for a 69-61 lead with 53 seconds to go.

For the game the Toreros limited the Gaels to just 1-of-11 shooting beyond the arc, but SMC converted 25-of-32 free throws with Landale connecting on 10-of-12. San Diego shot 45.7% from the field and made 5-of-16 threes and 16-of-20 free throws.

The Toreros will play their third straight road game on Thursday, January 11th, with a 7:00 p.m. contest at the University of the Pacific ( broadcast; ESPN 1700 AM). The Tigers upset BYU earlier this evening 67-66.



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