(San Diego, Calif.) - The USD Toreros, playing their fourth game in eight days, dropped a hard-fought 74-64 decision to the visiting Saint Mary's Gaels. Torero guard Johnny Dee poured in 19 points and matched his career-high of 7 rebounds, but it wasn't enough as the Gaels pulled away in the second half. San Diego falls to 13-13 overall and 6-5 in the WCC standings, while Saint Mary's improves to 21-4 and 10-1 in league. The Toreros play a key game this coming Thursday at Santa Clara (17-8, 5-5 WCC).
Saint Mary's was paced by senior guard Matthew Dellavedova with 19 points and 7 assists. He got help on the inside from forward Brad Waldow with 18 points. For USD, Dee was followed by guard Christopher Anderson with 10 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals in 38 minutes of action.
Asked about the recent four-game stretch, USD head coach Bill Grier said, "I don't feel good about tonight's game. But if I just look at the four games - the way we played against Gonzaga, winning on the road at LMU, and the way we beat BYU, I feel good about this stretch with so many games in such a short amount of time. You want one more, and hope the team can keep it going, but I think we just ran out of gas tonight."
In the first half Saint Mary's jumped out to an 8-0 lead, but the Toreros regrouped and battled back on the strength of two three-pointers by Ken Rancifer. USD took its first lead of the game at 21-20 on a layup by Dennis Kramer with 7:05 to go. USD would inch ahead by two points on two occasions, the last coming on a John Sinis three-pointer with 3:40 left to make it 28-26. Late in the half a Chris Manresa dunk tied the score at 34-all, but Saint Mary's came out of a timeout with three seconds left to convert a Brad Waldow layup before the buzzer for a 36-34 advantage.
In the second half Saint Mary's extended their lead to 10 points in the first five minutes at 47-37. From there the closest USD would get is three points at 47-44 on a Dee layup at the 13:32 mark. The rest of the way it was pretty much all Saint Mary's as they would go up by as many as 17 points (74-57) on a Matt Hodgson three-pointer before settling for the 10 point win.
The Toreros also got a solid performances from Jito Kok (8 points, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks) and John Sinis (8 points). The Gaels return to McKeon Pavilion on Thursday for a key game against the No. 6 Gonzaga Bulldogs (23-2, 10-0).
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