WCC Game 7: @ St. Mary's

Tip-off: Saturday, 5pm @ Moraga
TV: NBC Sports Bay Area; I imagine it may also be available streaming on Stadium and maybe on TV through regional ROOT or Bally’s channels.
Line: Torvik- Gaels -14, 92% win probability; ESPN- Gaels 90% win prob, no line yet.

The Gaels are 17-4, 6-0 in the WCC and are coming off a 73-44 drubbing of Pepperdine in Malibu. Though the Waves are struggling to win they do have plenty of offensive talent, so holding them to 44pts is impressive.
Not much has changed in the 3 weeks since we played the Gaels; they continue to impose their will on teams defensively. Some highlights:

  • They prevent 3 pt attempts in the first place (28th on Torvik) and hold teams to a low % (30%) when they are able to attempt a 3.
  • Since Oral Roberts made 12 3-ptrs in their 1st game, the Gaels have allowed no more than 8 in a game since (just once vs. USF), 6 or 7 makes five times…so 5 made 3’s or less in 14 of their 21 games.
  • Gaels are rated #3 on Torvik in Def Efficiency and #1 in Def Reb %.
  • While they aren’t as strong offensively (ranked 44th on Torvik), they are solid, and are generally ranked in the top 75 in most categories.

The Gaels get the overwhelming majority of their production from their starters, not much from their bench. Getting one of their starters, particularly Logan Johnson, in foul trouble could be very helpful to the Broncos.
Starting lineup/stats:

  • 6-3 guard Aidan Mahaney (15pts, 2assists, 42% from 3)
  • 6-1 guard Logan Johnson (12pts, 5rebs, 4assists, 25% from 3)
  • 6-7 wing Alex Ducas (12pts, 43% from 3)
  • 6-8 forward Kyle Bowen (6.4pts, 8rebs)
  • 6-10 center Mitchell Saxen (12.6pts, 8.3 rebs, 1.2 blocks)

Aside from Logan Johnson, their lineup is not overly athletic. They get it done by being fundamentally sound players and they play smart and are very physical.

For the Broncos, they need to at least match the Gaels rebounding where the Gaels often dominate other teams. The Broncos need to get out and run whenever they can and try to avoid having to beat SMC’s formidable half court D.
As noted above, SMC doesn’t play their bench much. I’d love to see us counter by playing are bench plenty, especially in the 1sh half or early 2nd half, keeping our starters rested and hope that pays dividends during crunch time the last ~8-10mins of the game.

Prediction: Broncos prevail in another SMC dogfight 73-71.

We’ve beaten the Gaels three years in a row including @ Moraga in 2020 and 2021. Time to make it four. The Torvik spread seems to heavily overweight home court advantage which hasn’t seemed to matter much of late in the SCU-SMC battles.


Line posted and our Broncos are 11.5 point underdogs.

That’s pretty hefty from where I sit. I would agree that the Gaels should be favored, but by something more like 3-4 points. This is a winnable one for SCU.


I’m with you Bets, an 11-12 point spread is very curious- like there’s something out there I don’t know about.

Scu has covered like 8 straight spreads or something as well

I’d say 5-7, but the current spread is surprising.

This feels like a momentum game.

The season progresses from game to game and opponent to opponent - some games you are supposed to win and some you are outmatched and expected to lose. (Huge thank you to 92Bronc for all the pre-game analysis)

But there is also the learning and development that takes place over the broader context of the season.

Notwithstanding injuries that can have a big impact, guys get more comfortable playing with each other’, culture develops, resiliency builds, adversity faced and overcome… (or the opposite, failures compound, things fall apart)

A few weeks ago, I circled this two game stretch as a chance to build some serious momentum for our Broncos. We have the talent to beat any team in the league on a given night, and it feels like if we could beat BYU and St. Mary’s this week, the complexion of the rest of the season could look very different.

A few side notes:

I was quietly hoping that we would have Carlos Marshall rejoin the action as we face everyone a second time and see what wrinkle that would add. He is such a competitor.

Secondly, I have been really impressed by this teams resiliency during games. When things don’t go their way, they bounce back well. We’ve watched plenty of Santa Clara games (especially under KK) where that has not been the case. With the BYU game, for example, the Broncos are up 8 at half thanks to a beautiful 3-pointer by Podz and then BYU opens the second half on a 9-0 run to put us down by one. Our boys responded really well in that instance.


I thought someone had posted that Marshall is likely to medical redshirt…or perhaps I’m confusing him with another player. From what I recall, a player can get a medical redshirt if they play no more than 30% of the team’s games. Not sure if that is still true.

Yes, that’s what I had heard as well.

Tough to be holding a talent like Marshall back. That said, Keshawn is the only player on the roster who cannot return. Marshall will be important for filling that gap.

And if all the rest of the core returns (big if in today’s game, but I’m hopeful), this squad may start with legitimate Tourney aspirations in 2023-24.

The computers love the Gaels, thus the wild line from Vegas. We know better. This SCU team can absolutely take this one in Moraga.

I’ll be in attendance. One of my last times at McKeon (maybe my last time?) was the JB three-point buzzer beater in his freshman year. I’m hoping that luck is still with me.

70-67 Broncos. Braun channels the ghost of Josip Vrankic and gets 16-10 against the Gaels.


Carlos Marshall is out and will be moving on. Jake Ensminger redshirted.

What Patty said…
Doubt there’s a human being analyzing the SMC-SCU game and setting the line, no subjective evaluation. Advance analytics are establishing the spread.

SMC is #5 on Torvik and #7 on NET. But we know and understand that SMC doesn’t have #5/#7 talent. They aren’t even as talented as some of their past teams…Saxon and Bowen aren’t as talented as Diamond Simpson, Omar Samhan, Brad Waldow, Jock Londale. Johnson and Mahaney aren’t as talented as Ford, Dellavedova, Mills (and several others). More or less the same story the past 3 seasons.

But they have played well, have been consistent, are dialed in defensively and they play smart, fundamentally sound basketball and rarely make dumb mistakes.

SMC’s modest talent the past several seasons is part of the reason we’ve had some success against them in recent seasons. If you just play decent basketball and don’t make dumb mistakes then you’re going to be in the game and they aren’t likely to blow you out.


I know its last minute. I cant break my fever so Im not using my tickets. Anyone need two tickets?

1 Like

Have to make FT’s in a game like this…Braun and Bediako: 0/4

There you go ‘femme…4 quick pts for Cameron :).

1 Like

Mahaney is killing us. Would rather see the quicker Stewart on him instead of Podz.

1 Like

This is only the second hostile environment we have ecountered all season (Utah State). Hopefully we just relax and play on offense in the second half.

Mahaney has 15 points and Zero other stats. Need to try something different on him. Force the other guys to make shots.

1 Like

Femme, if Cam goes to the portal, please have him take Bediako with him


I’ve attended plenty at McKeon…IMO, it’s not that hostile, no where close to GU or BYU. Just ~3k and more than a few are Broncos.

Didn’t stop us from winning there in 2020 and 2021.