Saint Mary’s (12-2, 1-0 West Coast Conference) went on a 13-0 run early in the second half and held on as the Gaels beat BYU in their WCC opener 98-82 Thursday night.
“It’s hard to guard both of us,” Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett said. “We were able to separate and keep it there.”
Rob Jones scored six of his team-high 24 points during that 13-0 run in the second half and took over in the second half.
“You can’t play one half. You have to play two halves,” Jones said. “I knew I had to come out in the second half and finish.”
BYU (11-4, 0-1) trailed by as much as 20 but cut the lead to 80-70 with 6:20 left but a quick six-point burst by the Gaels, capped off by a basket and a free throw by Brad Waldow, gave Saint Mary’s an 86-70 lead.
“We had to play our ‘A’ game and play well and we did. I think they played well,” Bennett said.
BYU guard Matt Carlino, who came in averaging more than 17 points through his first four games, was the focus for Saint Mary’s guard Stephen Holt who held Carlino to 13 points on 5-for-15 shooting.
“It was a focus going in… It was a challenge the whole entire night,” Holt said. “I just came in focused and tried to slow him down.”
Holt sparked the Gaels in the first half, scoring 16 of his career-high 21 points in the half.
Holt was sparked by his steal and dunk for the Gaels’ first basket and followed it up with a three pointer, giving Saint Mary’s an early 7-5 lead.
“It got me juiced and I felt good out there and then I hit that three and then I knew it was going to be a good game for us,” Holt said.
“Carlino can hit the tough shots and did. When we separated in the first half, [Holt] did a good job on [Carlino],” Bennett said. “He was ready to play.”
BYU forward Brandon Davies scored a game-high 28 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
Saint Mary’s forward Clint Steindl missed the game due to his sprained ankle he sustained against Baylor but his replacement Jorden Page was more than up to the task.
Page scored 13 points to go along with five assists.
“Just because Clint’s out, he definitely needed to step up his role like he did,” Jones said.
By the numbers:
2: It was the second time this season Matthew Dellavedova and Rob Jones had a double-double in the same game. Jones had 15 rebounds to go with his 24 points. Dellavedova finished with 18 points and 12 assists.
11: It was only the 11th time the two schools had played each other. The last came in a 74-73 BYU win in the South Padre Island Tournament last season.
14: Saint Mary’s took 14 more free throws than BYU.
Follow Zack Farmer on Twitter: @ZFarmerExaminer