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Saint Mary’s too much for EWU

Eastern Washington University logo (Courtesy)

MORAGA, Calif. – Brad Waldow scored 24 points to lead five Gaels in double figures as Saint Mary’s scored a wire-to-wire 93-65 men’s basketball victory over Eastern Washington on Sunday night.

After Drew Brandon hit a 3-point shot to pull Eastern Washington (5-3) within seven with 9:24 left in the first half, the Gaels went on a 16-5 run to open up a 33-15 lead. EWU wouldn’t get closer than 12 after that.

“Saint Mary’s is a better team than I thought – they whupped us,” EWU head coach Jim Hayford said. “For the most part I was really pleased with our character – this game didn’t come easy. Saint Mary’s is a Top 25 team. We just have to use it to get ourselves better.”

Kerry Carter scored a career-high 18 points for Saint Mary’s, which is now 7-0 with all seven victories coming at home. Beau Levesque added 14, James Walker III 12 and Stephen Holt 11.

Saint Mary’s outrebounded EWU 49-36, including 18-10 on the offensive glass. Garrett Jackson led with 12 rebounds for the Gaels. Venky Jois grabbed 11 for EWU.

Tyler Harvey led the Eagles with 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field. Brandon added 14 on 5-of-10 shooting. The rest of the team made only 11 of 36 for 30.5 percent.

EWU made only 4 of 23 3-point shots for 17.4 percent. It had entered the game ranked 28th among 345 schools with an average of 8.7 3-pointers made per game and was 28th in 3-point percentage at 41.5.

Saint Mary’s shot 48 percent. The Gaels outscored EWU 44-24 inside the paint, and also made 8 of 17 3-point shots.

“They had some high-percentage looks and we didn’t impede what they wanted to do offensively,” Hayford said. “That just highlighted some things we have to do better defensively. They had 18 offensive rebounds and that’s an effort stat.”

The Gaels jumped out early to a double-digit advantage. A 9-2 spurt opened a 33-15 lead and a 7-2 run gave them their biggest lead of the half at 40-19 with 2:25 left.

After trailing 41-26 at the break, Eastern pulled within 12 on a pair of free throws by Parker Kelly with 17:38 remaining, but could come no closer than 13 the rest of the way. Saint Mary’s opened its largest lead of the game at 32 with 1:40 to play.

“We’ll use this situation to get better,” Hayford said. “This was a tough night.”

The Gaels won for the 25th straight time at home against a nonconference opponent.

Up next for the Eagles is a rematch with UC Irvine on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. in Cheney. The Anteaters beat EWU 81-58 on Nov. 24 in the 2K Sports Classic in Irvine.

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