MORAGA, CALIF. - St. Mary's College shot a blistering 60 percent from the field in the first half, building a big lead, and cruising to an easy 97-48 win over Howard University in the first round of the Shamrock Office Solutions Classic at McKeon Pavilion.
The host Gaels (11-1) showed why they are considered one of the top teams in the country as they placed six players in double figures led by lightning quick point guard Patrick Mills, who led all scorers with 21 points in only 21 minutes of play.
The Bison (3-10) were able to stay close through the first 8 minutes until St. Mary's used a 16-2 run to put the game away. The Gaels were working on all cylinders, combining a dominant inside game (58 points in the paint), an opportunistic defense (26 points off turnovers) and all-around hustle (32 second chance points) to overwhelm Howard.
The Bison were buoyed by the return of leading scorer Eugene Myatt and Jeron Smith, who had missed the past two games with injuries. Myatt came off the bench to lead the team in scoring with 11 points in 17 minutes while Smith scored 5 points in a reserve capacity.
Howard was also able to cut down on its turnovers. The Bison finished with 17, 13 below their average the past three games.
Freshman Kyle Riley had another decent all around game with 5 points, 3 assists and 2 steals. Adam Walker, another freshman also contributed 6 points and 5 rebounds.
The Gaels, who won their fifth straight, got 15 from Omar Samhan, 14 and 10 rebounds from Ian O'Leary, 13 from Tron Smith off the bench, 12 from Carlin Hughes and 11 from Diamon Simpson.
The Bison will try to snap the losing streak when they take on winless Furman (0-11) in the consolation game at 5 pm while St. Mary's will vie for the tournament title when it takes on Cal State Fullerton at 7:30 pm.