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.

Ex-Cal football player Eric Stevens fighting for ALS cure after diagnosis

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AP

Ex-Cal football player Eric Stevens fighting for ALS cure after diagnosis

Former Cal Bears fullback Eric Stevens now is a Los Angeles City firefighter. He knows what it's like to put others' lives ahead of his own. 

Now, his family hopes those will return the favor.

Stevens was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 29, soon after getting married to the woman of his dreams.

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Let’s help Eric #axeALS!!!! #TeamStevensNation

A post shared by Stevens Nation (@teamstevensnation) on

"The diagnosis and subsequent education they received about the horrific disease was the worst news one could ever imagine," a Facebook post dedicated to "Team Stevens Nation," described.

ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis -- also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a debilitating and incurable disease that causes the death of neurons controlling voluntary muscles. With a life expectancy between two and five years, paralysis comes much quicker. And there is much unknown about it. 

While there are many treatments going through clinical trials that are showing promise, there is still a 50 percent chance those could receive a placebo over the actual treatment.

"There is NO reason why a person with a terminal diagnosis should receive placebo over the actual treatment," the Facebook page explains. "Another downside to these clinical trials is they are a year-long process, and time is the one thing ALS patients don't have. Every single day without treatment is a day lost."

Those can donate to and share the family's GoFundMe page here

Stevens, now 30, totaled 14 carries for 53 yards, and 13 catches for 82 yards and one touchdown in his career at Cal that spanned from 2008-2012. But despite playing sparingly, he was voted team captain.

He was signed by the Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2013, but never played a snap in the NFL.

[RELATED: A's Piscotty accepts prestigious Hutch Award]

"Given his strong determination and success in anything he puts his mind to, Eric has chosen to fight and advocate for getting drugs and treatments available to patients NOW," the Facebook group wrote. "Eric's goal with the help of his family and friends is to raise awareness for ALS and act now toward getting treatments available."

Gavin Newsom signs 'Fair Pay to Play' act with LeBron James on 'The Shop'

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USATSI

Gavin Newsom signs 'Fair Pay to Play' act with LeBron James on 'The Shop'

Monday was a monumental day in college athletics.

California Governor Gavin Newsom went on HBO and Uninterrupted's "The Shop" to formally sign California's "Fair Pay to Play" act alongside Lakers star LeBron James.

The law will allow college athletes in the state of California to profit off the use of their name, image and likeness, and will make it illegal for universities to revoke a student's scholarship for accepting money. The bill will not pay athletes to play, but it will allow them to sign agents and seek out business deals.

"[Signing the bill] is going to initiate dozens of other states to introduce similar legislation," Newsom said on "The Shop" prior to signing the bill. "And it’s going to change college sports for the better by having now the interests, finally, of the athletes, on par with the interests of the institutions. Now we’re rebalancing that power arrangement."

The bill will go into effect Jan. 1, 2023.

Warriors forward Draymond Green has been a vocal proponent of the bill, and he gave Newsom props after the signing.

Newsom's bill has faced blowback from both California schools and the NCAA, as it would make it impossible for those schools to follow the NCAA's amateurism rules. The NCAA has called the bill unconstitutional and will challenge it in court.

The NCAA responded with a statement.

The Pac-12 also issued a statement. 

[RELATED: Draymond supports California bill for NCAA athletes]

The signing of the bill is expected to cause an avalanche of states to pass similar legislation and fundamentally change how amateurism and college athletics are viewed.

Well done, Gov. Newsom.