NCAA

Saint Mary's drubs BYU, sets up showdown vs Gonzaga for WCC title

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AP

Saint Mary's drubs BYU, sets up showdown vs Gonzaga for WCC title

BOX SCORE

LAS VEGAS -- Jock Landale had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 19 Saint Mary's never trailed in an 81-50 victory over BYU on Monday night in the West Coast Conference semifinals.

Calvin Hermanson added 14 points and Emmett Naar had 12 points and 11 assists for the Gaels (28-3), who hit 13 3-pointers and earned a third chance to play nemesis Gonzaga in the title game Tuesday.

The fourth-ranked Bulldogs, who beat Saint Mary's twice in the regular season, held off Santa Clara 77-68 in the first semifinal.

T.J. Haws scored 13 points for the cold-shooting Cougars (22-11), who handed Gonzaga its only loss but faces long odds to reach the NCAA Tournament.

With third-seeded BYU missing 22 of 32 first-half shots, second-seeded Saint Mary's raced to a 36-20 lead. Hermanson then hit a 3-pointer as the Gaels scored the first five points in the second half, and they led by as many as 35 points in their sixth straight win.

BYU's Eric Mika was held to 10 points on 5-of-13 shooting after scoring 25 in Saturday's quarterfinal win over Loyola Marymount. BYU shot 32 percent from the field in bowing out in the WCC semifinals for the second straight year after reaching the final in 2014 and 2015.

It was another efficient offensive outing for Saint Mary's. Landale hit 8 of 12 shots from the field and all eight free throws while securing his 15th double-double of the season. The Gaels shot 56 percent from the field and went 13 of 25 from 3-point range.

Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett rested most of his regulars over the final 5 minutes ahead of Tuesday's championship game. The Gaels lost at Gonzaga 79-56 on Jan. 14 and 74-64 at home to the Zags on Feb. 11.

They haven't lost since.

BIG PICTURE:
BYU: The Cougars eclipsed 20 wins for the 12th straight season, but an RPI of 63 entering the game hurts their NCAA hopes despite the stunning win at Gonzaga on Feb. 25. BYU has losses to Utah Valley (210 RPI) and San Diego (203).

Saint Mary's: The Gaels came to Las Vegas with one goal: get another crack at Gonzaga. The only other team they lost to was Texas-Arlington on Dec. 8.

UP NEXT:
BYU: The Cougars will await their postseason fate amid optimism for a team that didn't start a senior over their final eight games. BYU has played in the postseason 11 straight years.

Saint Mary's: Beating Gonzaga on Tuesday night would give the Gaels their first WCC title since 2012.

Former Cal running back suffers scary spine injury, taken to hospital

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AP

Former Cal running back suffers scary spine injury, taken to hospital

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The New Orleans Saints say running back Daniel Lasco has feelings in his extremities after suffering a spinal injury making a tackle on a kickoff return during today's game at Buffalo.

Lasco was loaded into an ambulance on the field and taken to a hospital.

He was hurt six minutes into the second quarter when he appeared to lower his head while tackling Bills returner Brandon Tate. 

Lasco played four seasons at the University of California, Berkeley. He gained 1,471 yards from scrimmage with 14 touchdowns his junior year. In 2015 as a senior, Lasco was limited to nine games and only totaled 355 yards. 

The Saints selected Lasco in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

On for the long haul: Saint Mary's awards Bennett with new 10-year contract

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AP

On for the long haul: Saint Mary's awards Bennett with new 10-year contract

MORAGA, Calif. – Coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history, Saint Mary’s College men’s basketball head coach Randy Bennett has been rewarded with a new 10-year contract, President James Donahue and Director of Athletics Michael Matoso announced today.
 
Bennett enters his 17th season at Saint Mary’s, which begins Saturday at McKeon Pavilion. He is the school’s all-time leader in wins and ranks second in all-time wins for any coach in the West Coast Conference. His contract will run through the 2026-27 season at Saint Mary’s.
 
Last year the Gaels finished the season with a school record 29 wins for the second straight year, earned a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and reached the round of 32.
 
“I’m appreciative and thankful to President Donahue, Mike Matoso and the Saint Mary’s administration for their support. It’s an honor to have this opportunity to work at such a great institution,” Bennett said. “We’ve had great student-athletes and assistant coaches who have put a lot of hard work and effort into building the program to this level. My family and I truly enjoy being in such a supportive community and raising our family around this environment. We are excited to continue what we have started here 17 years ago.”
 
Over the past 10 years, Bennett has led the Gaels to an impressive 263-76 overall record for a .776 winning percentage. The winning percentage is the best in California and ranks fifth nationally during that stretch.
 
“Randy represents what Saint Mary’s College is all about. He exemplifies the College’s ongoing commitment to the development of our student-athletes,” Donahue said. “He is not only a remarkable coach, but he is a valued and respected leader on our campus. We are excited to have him committed to this long-term agreement and look forward to him leading Saint Mary’s basketball for the next decade.”
 
Bennett has led his teams to the post season 11 times, with six NCAA Tournament appearances (2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2017) and the school's first NIT appearances (2009, 2011, 2014, 2015 & 2016). No other SMC coach has guided his squad to more than one post-season appearance.
 
“It is an exciting day for Saint Mary’s College to announce a 10-year extension for Coach Bennett. Randy embodies the core values of the college and we are very fortunate to have him,” Matoso said. “He has built this program from the ground up and we envision great things for the program in the future under his leadership. His teams have performed extremely well on the court and have matched that success both in the classroom and in the community.”
 
In addition to team accomplishments, Bennett has had 20 different players earn All-WCC recognition, with a total of 29 first team and eight honorable mention selections. He also coached former Gaels Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova, who currently play for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks, as well as many others professionally around the world.
 
In 2017, senior Jock Landale was named the first Gael to be in the top-5 for the Kareem Abdul Jabaar award under Bennett’s tutelage. The center was an AP Honorable Mention and member of the WCC First Team after averaging 16.9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
 
Also under Bennett’s tenure, in 2012, Dellavedova gave the Gaels the first back-to-back WCC players of the year since 1962. He also became the school's first-ever male first-team Academic All-America selection and was among five finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation's best point guard. He earned all-WCC honors three times and twice was a honorable mention All-America selection.

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