Mills scores 23 in Saint Mary’s win
STOCKTON, Calif. (AP)—Patty Mills scored 21 of his game-high 23 points in the second half Tuesday night to lead Saint Mary’s to a 74-65 victory over Pacific at Spanos Center.
Mills made 4 of 6 3-point attempts after halftime as the Gaels held off a Pacific rally that tied the score midway through the second half to pull away down the stretch and win in Stockton for the first time since 1965.
Mickey McConnell scored a career-high 13 points for Saint Mary’s (10-1), which also got 11 points and a game-high 16 rebounds from Diamon Simpson to snap a 12-game losing skid at Pacific.
Mills and McConnell combined to make 6 of 8 3-pointers during an up-tempo second half as Saint Mary’s shot 56 percent from beyond the 3-point arc after halftime. The Tigers shot 52 percent from the field and 56 percent from 3-point range in the second half to stay in the game.
Bryan LeDuc came off the bench to lead Pacific (6-4) with 13 points, making each of his three shots beyond the 3-point arc. The two teams combined to make 19 3-pointers.
Pacific rallied back from a seven-point deficit to tie the game for the ninth and final time at 46-46 on a 3-pointer by Michael Kirby with 9:58 to play.
But Saint Mary’s answered with a steal by McConnell that led to a fast-break layup by Mills, who was fouled and made the free throw. That 3-point play began a 22-10 Saint Mary’s run that gave the Gaels their biggest lead at 68-56 with 2:34 remaining.
Mills had 11 points during the run, including two long-range 3-pointers after Pacific had crept within six points.
Both teams shot poorly during a seesaw first half during which there were six lead changes and the score was tied three times.
Saint Mary’s made only 28 percent of its attempts from the field, and Pacific shot 31 percent as the two teams were never separated by more than three points the entire first half.
After LeDuc tied the game 20-20 with a 3-pointer, Sam Willard made a 3-pointer and two free throws to give the Tigers a 25-23 advantage at halftime.
Ian O’Leary scored underneath the basket to begin the second half, then took a behind-the-back pass from Mills on a breakaway for a layup to give the lead back to the Gaels, who never trailed again.