Pilots Fall to WCC-Leading Gaels on the Road
MORAGA, Calif. --- The University of Portland Pilots challenged the West Coast Conference-leading Saint Mary’s Gaels in a 69-61 loss on Saturday night at McKeon Pavilion. The Portland frontcourt duo of Ryan Nicholas and Thomas van der Mars combined for 34 points in the loss.
The Pilots (5-13, 2-3 WCC) trailed by only five points at the half and kept the deficit in single digits throughout most of the second period before Saint Mary’s pulled away late.
The Gaels (17-2, 6-0 WCC) improved to a perfect 13-0 on their home court with the win. Saint Mary’s had previously defeated all 13 opponents by at least 15 points, including an 83-62 win over No. 21 Gonzaga on Thursday. The Pilots fall to 0-10 in road games on the season.
van der Mars finished with a team-high 18 points for the visitors, one shy of his season high, to go seven rebounds. Nicholas was 8-for-12 from the field for 16 points. Sophomore point guard Tim Douglas matched his career-high by dishing out eight assists.
Leading 30-25 at the half, Saint Mary’s promptly went on a 17-5 run to open the second period and take a 17-point lead. The Pilots didn’t fold though and were able to bring the deficit back to single digits on a Tim Douglas runner with 11:41 remaining to make it 49-40. Back-to-back three-pointers by the Gaels made it a 13-point deficit, but Douglas connected with van der Mars for consecutive layups to bring it back to 55-46 with 8:18 left. An ensuing 11-4 run put the game out of reach.
Sophomore guard Stephen Holt scored a game-high 21 points for the Gaels and added seven rebounds, five assists and five steals. Senior forward Rob Jones recorded his seventh double-double of the year with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Portland shot 51 percent from the field in the game, while holding the Gaels to 45 percent. The Pilots committed 20 turnovers which led to a 23-17 edge in points off of turnovers.
The first half saw three ties and five lead changes as Portland came out and made seven of their first eight field goal attempts. Saint Mary’s capitalized on late scoring drought of nearly six minutes by the Pilots towards the end of the period to gain the halftime lead.
The Pilots will return to the Chiles Center for a pair of WCC home games next week. San Diego visits on Thursday at 8 p.m. and then the team will host San Francisco on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. Both games will be televised live on Comcast SportsNet Northwest. Tickets are still available for both games through all Ticketmaster outlets or online at www.ticketmaster.com.
Run 'Em Aground Pilots!
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