GAME NOTES: The Gaels of Saint Mary's take to the road for the first time this season as they challenge the Boise State Broncos in non-conference play at Taco Bell Arena today.
The Gaels have been perfect up until this point, running the table during their season-opening, seven-game homestand. The team, which crushed Eastern Washington in a 93-65 final on Sunday, hasn't been getting much attention on a national scale due to the level of competition in the early going.
As for the Broncos, they were undefeated through the first eight games of the season, but that run came to an end four days ago when the team was upended by nationally-ranked Kentucky in Lexington by a final of 70-55. Like the Gaels, BSU did the majority of damage at home with a perfect 6-0 mark at Taco Bell Arena.
The Broncos lead the all-time series by a count of 7-4, although SMC won the most recent battle, 58-57, back in 1996 in Provo, Utah on this same date.
This game is part of the un-bracketed portion of the Diamond Head Classic which will continue in Honolulu during the week of Christmas, with the squads potentially meeting in a later round.
The defense for the Gaels was on point against Eastern Washington as it held the Eagles to just 32.1 percent shooting from the floor in the first half, including 1-of-11 behind the 3-point line, providing more than enough cushion to give SMC a comfortable 28-point home win. Brad Waldow checked in with 24 points and eight rebounds, followed by Kerry Carter with 18 points and Garrett Jackson 12 rebounds off the bench. Beau Levesque tacked on 14 points, James Walker 12 and Stephen Holt 11 points, seven boards and six assists.
Scoring at least 72 points in all but one game this season, the Gaels are generating a healthy 81.0 ppg at the moment, thanks to 48.2 percent shooting from the field and 42.1 percent beyond the arc. Waldow heads the scoring list with 18.6 ppg, his 7.1 rpg also tops on the team, as is his 14 blocked shots. Holt (12.6 ppg) accounts for 5.0 rpg and has handed out 40 assists, although it is still hard to overlook the fact that he is converting just 38.1 percent from the field through seven outings.
Boise State at least had some measure of hope after 20 minutes of action against the Wildcats, shooting 41.2 percent from the floor, but the team then converted a total of just eight field goals in the second half at Rupp Arena. Anthony Drmic accounted for 18 points for the visitors, but he shot a disappointing 7-of-22 from the floor, including 2-of-8 behind the 3-point line, followed by Derrick Marks with 14 points as he sank one-third of his 18 field goal tries.
Drmic leads the offensive attack overall for the Broncos with his 20.1 ppg, adding 5.0 rpg as well. Marks checks in with another 17.2 ppg, converting an even 50 percent of his field goal chances, followed by Jeff Elorriaga and Mikey Thompson with 12.0 and 10.1 ppg, respectively. Elorriaga has been spectacular from beyond the arc in the early going, knocking down 58.7 percent of his 46 shots, lifting the entire team to 39.2 percent on the outside, but teammates have to be ready to hit the glass when the ball is in his hands because he rarely sets up others for scoring opportunities, having issued just five assists in 255 minutes of action.
Both of these teams have yet to get into the meat of their respective schedules, which is why it is difficult to figure out what their true talent level really is. Getting out on the road is something entirely new for the Gaels, but still they should have the upper hand in this meeting.
Game Date and Time