Saint Mary's Gaels men's basketball

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Saint Mary's College Gaels
2014–15 Saint Mary's Gaels men's basketball team
Saint Mary's College Gaels athletic logo
University Saint Mary's College of California
Conference WCC
Location Moraga, CA
Head coach Randy Bennett (14th year)
Arena McKeon Pavilion
(Capacity: 3,500)
Nickname Gaels
Colors

Blue and Red

            
Uniforms
Kit body thinsidesonwhite.png
Home jersey
Kit shorts blanksides2.png
Team colours
Home
Kit body thinredsides.png
Away jersey
Kit shorts redsides.png
Team colours
Away
NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
1959
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
1959, 2010
NCAA Tournament appearances
1959, 1989, 1997, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013
Conference tournament champions
1997, 2010, 2012
Conference regular season champions
1959, 1980, 1989, 1997, 2011, 2012

The Saint Mary's Gaels men's basketball team represents Saint Mary's College in Moraga, California, competing in the West Coast Conference of the NCAA. The team plays home games in the McKeon Pavilion, capacity 3,500; it is one of the smaller gyms in the WCC. The current head coach is Randy Bennett, who is the school's all-time wins leader.[1] The Gaels have appeared in seven NCAA Tournaments1959, 1989, 1997, 2005, 2008, 2010,2012 and 2013.

On March 1, 2013, they were placed on probation by the NCAA for four years due to rules violations.[2]

Their top rivals are the San Francisco Dons and the Santa Clara Broncos, two other Catholic schools in the San Francisco Bay Area that are in the WCC.

Venues[edit]

Interior of McKeon Pavilion.
The Gaels compete in the West Coast Conference.

Saint Mary's basketball and volleyball teams play their home games at the McKeon Pavilion, which has a capacity of 3,500. It was named after George R. McKeon, a former member of the college's Board of Regents.[3] Constructed in 1978, it underwent renovations in the summer of 2006, with new features including painted bleachers, new chair backseats behind the reserved section, a remodeled VIP section, and a banner with "GaelForce" on it behind the student section.[4]

History[edit]

Recent success[edit]

Under coach Randy Bennett, the men's basketball team has become recognized nationally as one of the top mid-major programs in the United States. He inherited a 2–27 team when he arrived in 2001, and began recruiting an Australian named Adam Caporn. Since then, Bennett has built a reputation of recruiting Australian players.[5] With Caporn in the line-up, Saint Mary's improved to 9–20 record in 2001–02, a 15–15 record in 2002–03, and 19–12 in 2003–04. In 2004–05, the team earned an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, although they lost in the first round. Their 15–1 record in McKeon Pavilion was its best in its history.[1]

After rebuilding seasons in 2005–06 and 2006–07, the team enjoyed one of their best seasons in school history in 2007–08, behind the play of Australian freshman Patty Mills. The team was ranked in the AP and USA Today top 25 lists for five and six weeks, respectively. They ended up receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament in 2008 as well, but again lost in the first round.[1] In 2008, the team got off to a strong start, going 14–2 before Mills broke his hand and missed a month.[6] Mills came back in time for the West Coast Conference Tournament, but after a loss to Gonzaga in the WCC tournament finals, the team was not selected for the NCAA tournament and played in the NIT. After the end of the year, Mills declared for the NBA draft and was a second-round selection.[1]

In March 2010, the Gaels received an automatic bid to the 2010 NCAA Tournament, after winning the championship game of the WCC Tournament. Having beaten Gonzaga in the tournament final, it was the Gaels' second WCC tournament victory since it began in 1987.[7] In 2010, they won their first NCAA Tournament game since 1959, defeating the Richmond Spiders. On March 20, 2010, the Gaels, led by Omar Samhan, defeated second seeded Villanova to advance to the Sweet Sixteen, for their first time in the 64 team era. They then lost to 3 seed Baylor 72–49 to end their season 28–6 and with its worst loss of the year.[8]

Following the loss of Samhan to graduation, many expected the Gaels next season to be a rebuilding year. Led by point guard Mickey McConnell, however, Saint Mary's compiled a 25–9 record, 11–3 in the WCC, including the Gaels' first win against Gonzaga in Spokane since 1995. But after absorbing a late-season loss to last-place San Diego and dropping an ESPN BracketBuster game at home against Utah State, Saint Mary's failed to make the NCAA Tournament. They would be upset in the first round of the NIT by Kent State. After McConnell graduated, Australian point guard Matthew Dellavedova became the team's new star alongside San Diego transfer and San Francisco native Rob Jones. The Gaels compiled a 27–6 record and went 14–2 in the WCC in 2011–12, including a win in Moraga over Gonzaga and a sweep of new conference member BYU. Saint Mary's spent most of the season ranked in the AP and Coaches' polls and won the outright WCC regular season title, the first time since 2000 that Gonzaga had not claimed part of the title. The Gaels then defeated Gonzaga in overtime in the WCC tournament, marking the first time in school history Saint Mary's won both the regular season and tournament titles. Saint Mary's lost to Purdue in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Saint Mary's Australian pipeline, focusing on the Australian Institute of Sport (from where Caporn and Mills were recruited), continues to the present. The 2011–12 team featured four AIS graduates, including 2012 WCC Player of the Year Dellavedova, and one other Australian.

Postseason[edit]

NCAA Tournament results[edit]

The Gaels have made eight NCAA tournament appearances. They have an overall 4–8 record in tournament games.[9]

Year Seed Round Opponent Result
1959 Sweet Sixteen Idaho State W, 80–71
Elite Eight California L, 46–66
1989 #8 First Round #9 Clemson L, 70–83
1997 #14 First Round #3 Wake Forest L, 46–68
2005 #10 First Round #7 Southern Illinois L, 56–65
2008 #10 First Round #7 Miami (FL) L, 64–78
2010 #10 First Round #7 Richmond W, 80–71
Second round #2 Villanova W, 75–68
Sweet Sixteen #3 Baylor L, 49–72
2012 #7 Second Round #10 Purdue L, 69–72
2013 #11 First Four #11 Middle Tennessee W, 67–54
Second Round #6 Memphis L, 52–54

NIT results[edit]

The Gaels have appeared in three National Invitation Tournaments. Their combined record is 3–2. They are currently participating in the 2014 NIT.

Year Seed Round Opponent Result
2009 #2 First Round #7 Washington State W, 68–57
Second Round #6 Davidson W, 80–68
Quarterfinals #1 San Diego State L, 66–70
2011 #2 First Round #7 Kent State L, 70–71
2014 #4 First Round #5 Utah W, 70–58
Second Round #1 Minnesota 3/23/14

References[edit]

External links[edit]