Mens Basketball: Saint Mary's 85, Saint Francis PA 68 - D1SportsNet


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Mens basketball

Saint Mary's 85, Saint Francis PA 68

MORAGA, Calif. -- Calvin Hermanson was nearly perfect from the field while scoring 24 points and leading No. 22 Saint Mary's to an 85-68 victory over visiting Saint Francis (Pa.) on Saturday in the season opener for both teams.

Hermanson made his first nine shots from the floor, including five from 3-point range, and converted his only free-throw attempt. His first miss came on a transition 3-point attempt with 12 minutes left. He did not take another shot, finishing 9 of 10 from the floor, including 5 of 6 from long range.

Hermanson also had seven rebounds

Jock Landale added 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting and pulled down eight rebounds for the Gaels, who won their season opener for the 16th consecutive year. Emmett Naar had 12 assists for Saint Mary's, which shot 53.8 percent for the game and made 12 of 26 shots from beyond the 3-point line.

Jamaal King scored 15 points for Saint Francis, the preseason favorite to win the Northeast Conference. Isaiah Blackmon added 12 points for the Red Flash and Keith Braxton had 10.

The Gaels put the game away with a spurt early in the second half. They led by eight before Hermanson scored eight points during a 10-point run that pushed the Saint Mary's advantage to 56-38 with 15:43 remaining.

Hermanson hit all six of his first-half field-goal attempts, including three 3-pointers, and scored 16 points in the first 20 minutes. That helped the Gaels take a 46-36 lead at intermission.

Blackmon and Braxton had 10 points apiece in the first half for the Red Flash, and a pair of 3-point shots by Braxton led an 11-2 Saint Francis run that reduced a 10-point Saint Mary's lead to one at 32-21 with 6:31 left in the first half.

But the Red Flash missed their next six shots as Saint Mary's reeled off 12 straight points to grab a 44-31 advantage at the 2:54 mark. Hermanson scored the first eight points in that Gaels run.

NOTES: Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett signed a 10-year contract extension Friday that will run through the 2026-27 season. ... Saint Francis returns three players who averaged at least 12 points on last season's 17-17 team. ... Saint Mary's was a unanimous pick to win the West Coast Conference title this season in the coaches' preseason poll. ... Staint Francis C Deivydas Kuzavas made his first career start Saturday. ... Saint Francis plays at San Francisco on Monday, and Saint Mary's hosts New Mexico State the same night. ... The Red Flash have road games against Louisville and Duke later this season.