MORAGA -- Jock Landale credits his teammates for finding him at all the right moments in all the right places to make his shots at a remarkably reliable rate. Opposing coach Dave Wojcik praises Landale for the ease with which he scores through double-teams.
Landale is shooting at a 75-percent clip this season, and the emerging big man is the biggest reason No. 15 Saint Mary's is on a roll. His balanced supporting cast sure helps, too.
The 6-foot-11 center scored 24 points and didn't miss a shot until 6:49 remained, and the Gaels beat Bay Area neighbor San Jose State 81-64 on Tuesday night.
When asked if he knew what Landale was shooting, fellow Australian Emmett Naar responded: "Probably pretty bad, I imagine. He's not very good."
"Twelve percent," Landale said, chuckling.
Landale has made 36 of 48 field goal attempts over his first four games for Saint Mary's (4-0), which followed up a 61-57 victory Saturday at Dayton with another impressive win. He went 9 for 10 and also had seven rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots.
Landale has emerged as a force in the low post as senior starting forward Dane Pineau deals with lower back issues that have limited him so far.
"We've got to throw him the ball; he's a beast in there," said Naar, who added 16 points.
Calvin Hermanson also scored 16 for Saint Mary's.
With coach Randy Bennett remaining cautious, Pineau didn't play at all for the first time in four games after his back flared up again before tipoff.
Joe Rahon contributed eight points, seven assists, five rebounds and three blocks for Saint Mary's, which holds its highest ranking in the AP poll since it also was 15th in 1959. The program is ranked in the preseason poll for the first time.
Ryan Welage scored 17 points and Jaycee Hillsman had 16 for San Jose State (1-3), which hung tough with the West Coast Conference favorite for most of the game but couldn't avoid a third straight defeat.
"It's a good measuring stick for us," Wojcik said. "Nobody in the country thought we would win the game. I just told them, `We believe and you've got to prove yourself.'"
Saint Mary's shot 60.7 percent in the first half but led only 43-40 at the break as San Jose State took advantage of 10 Saint Mary's fouls and converted 10 of 11 free throws.
"I didn't think our starters came out and played as well as we need to defensively," Bennett said. "We don't give up 40 points in a half very often. The problem was never offensively. Our deal is we're going to have to be consistent defensively."
San Jose State's Brandon Clarke was whistled for his third foul with 14:01 left and it turned into a costly four-point swing that produced a 58-51 Saint Mary's lead after he picked up a technical for swearing after the initial call.
The Gaels used that play to start an 18-2 run and build a 72-53 lead.
Clarke apologized to his teammates for his second career technical.
"That kind of spun the game around," he said. "I just pretty much told them sorry. I just felt like that was a turning point and I let them down with that play. It's stuff I can learn from."
Wojcik liked the emotion, the coach just wished his sophomore forward had kept it to himself.
San Jose State: The Spartans' last victory against a Top 25 team was 60-59 in overtime against No. 19 Alabama on Dec. 27, 1996. ... The Spartans haven't beaten Saint Mary's since Nov. 26, 2000, in Moraga, and this was the first matchup between the teams since Nov. 20, 2009.
Saint Mary's: The Gaels matched their longest winning streak in the series at six. ... They have outscored opponents 274-207 in their first three home games at McKeon Pavilion. ... Saint Mary's is 115-32 against non-conference opponents over the past 10 years. ... Former Gaels star Stephen Holt, on a break from playing professionally in Spain, was in attendance and recognized on the court during an early timeout.
San Jose State: At Washington State on Sunday in the middle game of a three-game road trip that includes another Palouse matchup eight miles away at Idaho two days later.
Saint Mary's: Takes on the University of Alabama at Birmingham on Sunday in Las Vegas before going to Stanford next Wednesday.