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Saint Mary's sails past Stanford 78-61 in Moraga

On Sunday night Stanford did what most power conference teams won't and walked into a mid-major gym. Saint Mary's picked up a convincing win over their Bay Area neighbors. Hopefully that won't stop this series from turning into a regional rivalry.

Saint Mary's point guard Emmett Naar.
Saint Mary's point guard Emmett Naar.
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The Gaels' offense hasn't missed a beat this season, despite having to replace all five starters from last year. Tonight against a similarly high-powered Stanford offense, the Gaels put up 78 points and picked up the WCC's first win of the season against a power conference opponent.

Saint Mary's two point guard attack continues to prove effective. Boston College transfer Joe Rahon led the way tonight with a game high 24 points, just two shy of his career high, on 11 of 16 shooting. Emmett Naar chipped in 15 points and six assists.

As expected this was a back-and-forth, all-offense affair from the start. Both teams shot over 50% from the field in the first half.

Marcus Allen, making his first start of the season for the Cardinal, was perfect in the first. He scored 14 points on six of six shooting. Reid Travis added ten points on five of eight shooting. Unfortunately for Stanford, those high shooting percentages did not continue into the second half.

That wasn't because of any increased effort or execution on the defensive end. Simply put the Cardinal don't have depth, and when they got into foul trouble that issue was made very clear.

Marcus Allen went to the bench about five minutes into the second half with his fourth foul. He only sat for six minutes, but without him the Cardinal couldn't get anything going. Stanford went 9-25 from the field in the second half and scored just 0.774 points per possession.

Meanwhile the Gaels' offense just kept humming along.

When Allen left the game Stanford held a one point, 45-44 advantage. The Gaels went on a 10-0 run from that point and never looked back. The deficit proved too much for the Cardinal even when Allen returned, as they couldn't cut it any less than two possessions. With the bench emptied in the final minute a Stefan Gonzalez three extended the lead to a game high 20 points.

The Gaels were picked to finish fourth in the WCC coaches poll, in part because there are three other very talented teams in the league this year but also because replacing five starters is a daunting task. So far this season Randy Bennett is proving his peers wrong, as his Gaels sit atop the conference at 3-0 and own the best win of the young season.