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Toreros battle No. 13 Saint Mary’s tough but fall 65-62
Feb. 3, 2018

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SAN DIEGO – Playing their second straight top-15 team in three days, the Toreros battled the No. 13 Saint Mary’s Gaels to the end but came up a little short in a 65-62 contest. Despite 34 points and 18 rebounds from Jock Landale, USD almost pulled off the upset. Isaiah Pineiro led the Toreros with 24 points and Isaiah Wright’s three-point attempt from the top of the key just before the final buzzer was just off the mark. Saint Mary’s stayed perfect in WCC play (12-0) and won their 18th straight game to improve to 23-2. San Diego falls to 15-9 and 6-6 in the league standings.

“I’m proud of our guys and you know how I am on losses which I don’t take very well,” said head coach Lamont Smith. “We kept battling. After getting down big we stuck with our game plan. We knew if we gave up a bunch to Landale and locked up the rest of their guys that we would have a chance. He’s a load and hard to guard. Our guys kept battling and battling. We are not into moral victories but if our guys are going to battle like that I’m going to sleep good at night.”

In the first half the Toreros led early 11-5 with Isaiah Pineiro leading the way with six points. Jock Landale answered with two buckets for the Gaels to pull within 11-9. Olin Carter III answered with a three-pointer from the left corner before Landale scored again making it 14-11. Back-to-back threes from Jordan Ford and Landale gave the Gaels a 17-14 advantage with 10:39 left. Juwan Gray ended the Gaels 8-0 run with a free throw but Emmett Naar buried a three, Landale scored twice and Calvin Hermanson scored inside to make it 26-15 and extend the run to 17-1.

Isaiah Pineiro’s baseline jumper from the right ended a long dry spell from the field for the Toreros to make it 31-19 with 2:32 left. Gray and Pineiro buckets would get USD within 36-24 at the halftime break. Landale had 18 points and 11 rebounds in the first 20 minutes while Pineiro paced USD with 10. After the break Landale added two early buckets and the Gaels extended their lead to 40-27. Wright would score for the Toreros but Naar would answer with a three to push SMC’s lead to 43-29. A Pineiro three pulled USD to with 45-34 but Landale answered with his 11th bucket. Tyler Williams cashed in on a three-ball to cut it to ten at 47-37 with 11:35 left. Gray and Pineiro traded baskets with two more Landale buckets to make it 51-41. A Williams’ trey made USD’s deficit single digits at 53-44.

A three-point play inside from Alex Floresca made it 55-47 with 7:59 to go. Williams connected on his fourth trey of the game from the top to make it 57-50 with 7:23 to go and a Pineiro basket would make it 57-52. Wright would be fouled on his lay-up attempt with 4:16 left but did not capitalize to keep it a five point game. With 3:35 left Pineiro cashed in on two free throws to get USD within three at 57-54. Jordan Ford connected on a left-handed lay-in to push it to 59-54 with 2:20 to go. Wright made a big three from the right side with 1:20 to go to make it 59-57, but Landale answered with a bucket inside at the other end for a four point cushion just inside a minute to go.

Wright powered inside for a lay-in to get the Toreros within two at 61-59 with 47 ticks left. Ford hit a running floater on the left baseline with 19 seconds to go but Wright answered with a big three-pointer to get the Toreros within 63-62 with 11 seconds left. Naar was fouled with 7 ticks and made both free throws to push the Gaels lead to 65-62. Wright’s three-point attempt before the buzzer was just off the front rim.

For the game Saint Mary’s shot 59.1% from the field and made 6-of-12 threes. USD made 22-of-49 shots overall (44.9%) and cashed in on 8-of-20 threes. Tyler Williams (4-5 in threes) finished with 12 points and was followed by Wright (10 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals.

Up next for the Toreros is a road trip to Malibu for a Feb. 8th game at Pepperdine for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off at Firestone Fieldhouse.

 

 

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