NCAA

Saint Mary's puts on dominant performance in win over San Diego

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AP

Saint Mary's puts on dominant performance in win over San Diego

SAN DIEGO — Saint Mary's knows it has little room for error when it comes to accomplishing its goals for this season. So Jock Landale and company took rebuilding San Diego quite seriously on Saturday night.

Landale and Calvin Hermanson scored 14 points apiece, and the 18th-ranked Gaels rolled to a 71-27 victory over the Toreros.

Saint Mary's (21-2, 11-2 West Coast Conference) limited San Diego to just nine field goals in its sixth straight victory. The Gaels shot 51 percent (26 for 51) from the field, compared to 19.6 percent (9 for 46) for the Toreros.

Saint Mary's went 29-6 last year, but was passed over when the field for the NCAA Tournament was announced. Two conference losses to Pepperdine helped derail the Gaels' chance for an at-large bid after they lost to Gonzaga in the WCC final.

"We always hold a chip on our shoulder because we didn't get there last year," Landale said. "And that is something we are striving for this year."

Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said what happened last season left the Gaels with an "interesting perspective."

"They did what they were supposed to do last year and then we lost in the championship game and didn't get in the NCAA Tournament," Bennett said. "So they understand how hard it is. There is a lot of pressure."

Olin Carter III led San Diego (11-13, 4-8) with 11 points. None of his teammates had more than three points.

The Toreros have dropped four of five.

"I think we took the right shots early; we took shots that we make in games," San Diego coach Lamont Smith said. "Unfortunately the shots didn't fall and I think we got a little defeated."

Bennett's biggest concern was his players easing up after building a big lead. That issue popped up in Thursday's 74-70 win over Pacific.

"Against Pacific we got up 17 points and it got that thing back to a one-possession game," Bennett said. "And we use that as a reference point. That is something this group has to get better at: taking it from 10 to 15 from 15 to 20 and tonight we did that. I was proud of our guys."

Smith is interested to see how his guys respond.

"It's a great thing for our basketball team to hit some adversity," Smith said. "Are we going to lie down or are we going to come out swinging and fighting?"

Saint Mary's led 32-9 at halftime and cruised to a season sweep of San Diego.

BIG PICTURE

Saint Mary's: The Gaels played with an edge, and maybe Saturday's results around college basketball helped their cause. With several teams ranked above Saint Mary's losing before it took the court, Bennett's squad turned in an impressive performance.

San Diego: The Toreros are rebuilding under Smith, a former San Diego player and ex-Saint Mary's assistant. They have two more wins than last season already, but they were overwhelmed by the talented Gaels.

UP NEXT

Saint Mary's hosts Portland on Thursday. The Gaels beat the Pilots 74-33 earlier this season.

San Diego visits Pacific on Thursday. The Toreros lost 56-53 to the Tigers on Jan. 5.

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

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AP

Louisville has 'effectively fired' head coach Rick Pitino

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville has placed coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich on administrative leave amid a federal bribery investigation.

Jurich is on paid leave, while Pitino is on unpaid leave. The coach’s attorney, Steve Spence, told the Courier-Journal Wednesday that Louisville has “effectively fired” Pitino.

Pitino’s exit comes after the school acknowledged on Tuesday that the men’s program is part of a federal investigation into alleged bribery of recruits. The 65-year-old coach was not named in the indictment that resulted in the arrest of 10 people including four assistant coaches at other schools and an Adidas executive.

It is the latest black eye for the Cardinals program. Pitino and Louisville are in the middle of appealing NCAA sanctions following an embarrassing sex scandal.

Jurich has supported Pitino through his transgressions during the athletic director’s nearly 20-year tenure at the university.

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

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AP

Cal fights USC into fourth quarter, can't complete the upset

BOX SCORE

BERKELEY -- Stephen Carr ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown two plays after Southern California's defense forced one of its six turnovers and the fifth-ranked Trojans won their 13th straight game, 30-20 over California on Saturday.

USC (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) has dominated the series with its in-state rival by winning 14 straight against the Golden Bears (3-1, 0-1), but this was one of the tightest matchups in years as the game was tied early in the fourth quarter.

Sam Darnold threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns for the Trojans but also had an interception and was under pressure for much of the day.

It was the defense that stepped up for USC, intercepting a pass from Ross Bowers in the first quarter to set up a field goal and then delivering the big play early in the fourth quarter after Chase McGrath gave the Trojans a 16-13 lead with his third field goal of the game.

Josh Fatu knocked the ball out of Bowers' hand and Uchenna Nwosu recovered the fumble at the 3. Carr ran it in two plays later from the 2 to make it 23-13.

Ykili Ross then intercepted Bowers' pass on the next possession, setting up Darnold's 4-yard TD pass to Deontay Burnett that put away the game.

Bowers finished 22 for 50 for 303 yards with one touchdown, four interceptions and two lost fumbles.

THE TAKEAWAY

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: The Trojans struggled for much of the game without starting RB Ronald Jones (ankle) and WR Steven Mitchell (groin) but managed to pull away late in their first road game of the season.

CALIFORNIA: The Bears used an improved defense to start 3-0 under first-year coach Justin Wilcox but this was supposed to be the test of how far they had come. Cal showed plenty by sticking with a national title contender for three quarters. A sequence on the opening drive of the second will haunt the Bears. Patrick Laird dropped a potential TD in the end zone and Matt Anderson then missed a 29-yard field goal that kept the game tied at 13.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

A win against an unranked team should do little to alter USC's poll position.

UP NEXT

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 18 Washington State on Friday.

CALIFORNIA: Visits No. 24 Oregon on Saturday.