|St. Mary's beats Vanguard, 86-54|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 23 November 2008 16:05|
Ben Allen added 10 points and six rebounds for the Gaels, who trailed midway through the first half before storming back to get the easy win.
Gregory Scott had 15 points to pace Vanguard (1-4), an NAIA school from Southern California.
St. Mary's had four players in double figures, committed only 10 turnovers and used a 19-5 run in the second half to put the game away. The 32-point win was the Gaels' largest of the season.
It almost came at a big price.
Simpson, the West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year last season, was going for a breakaway dunk with 16:24 left in the game when he was fouled by Mitch Boyce. Simpson missed the dunk and fell hard to the floor, slamming his back and head.
The senior forward lay on the ground as trainers, teammates and Boyce rushed to his aid. Simpson eventually left the court under his own power and was replaced by Yusef Smith, who sank two free throws in Simpson's place after Boyce was called for an intentional foul. Simpson later returned but scored only one point after getting hurt.
The Gaels led 58-48 with 10:26 remaining when Wayne Hunter scored on a fastbreak layup and followed it up with a 3-pointer to ignite a 19-5 run to put the game away. Mills scored seven of his points during the burst, which left St. Mary's with a 77-53 lead.
The Gaels shot 51 percent in the first half and committed only four turnovers but had trouble shaking the pesky Lions, who made six of their first nine 3-pointers and led 21-18 with 9:38 left. Vanguard made seven 3's before the break, including Elvis Whitelow's trey just before the buzzer.
But St. Mary's eventually wore the smaller, slower Lions down and ended the first half on a 13-5 run to take a 41-32 lead. Omar Samhan scored four of his points during the spurt while Hunter added five for the Gaels.