Saint Mary’s holds off scrappy San Jose State

Preview | Box Score | Recap| *San Jose St.

MORAGA, Calif. (AP)—Patty Mills scored 11 of his 17 points during a key run early in the second half and Saint Mary’s won its eighth straight game with a hard-fought 87-78 victory over San Jose State on Saturday night in the Shamrock Office Solutions Classic.

Diamon Simpson added 20 points and 13 rebounds and now needs only 19 boards to break the school record of 916 set by Tom Meschery from 1958-62. Simpson already holds the Gaels’ mark for blocked shots.

Omar Samhan had 21 points, five rebounds and four assists for Saint Mary’s (11-1), which will play Sunday against Morgan State (5-6), a 70-68 winner over William Jessup on a buzzer beater in Saturday’s first game.

Adrian Oliver, the Spartans’ prized transfer from Washington, scored 22 points to lead San Jose State (5-4), which had its three-game winning streak snapped. C.J. Webster added 15 points and Chris Oakes 12 points and six rebounds.

Oliver shot 1-for-5 in the first half and picked up two quick fouls but bounced back to make 8 of 13 shots after halftime in just his third game for the school. He scored seven straight points midway through the second half to pull the Spartans within 62-57, but Simpson followed with a quick basket on the other end. The 6-foot-4 Oliver combined for 58 points in his first two games, most by a San Jose State player in his first two contests.

Mills, the speedy guard who starred for Australia in the Beijing Olympics, got Saint Mary’s going after halftime with a 3-pointer that started a 13-0 run in which he also hit two more 3s.

The Gaels, back home in front of a sellout crowd at McKeon Pavilion following an eight-game road stretch, needed a big second half after coming out cold on offense and shooting 2-for-9 from 3-point range and getting outrebounded 21-12 by the scrappy Spartans in the first half.

With the game tied at 20, San Jose State went on an 11-2 run late in the first half to go ahead 31-22 then Simpson scored back-to-back baskets for the Gaels. The teams were tied at 36 at the break.

Saint Mary’s has won the last four meetings between the programs, including a 78-60 victory on Dec. 30, 2006, in Moraga.

Chris Mullin, the Golden State Warriors’ executive vice president of basketball operations, sat courtside.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 San Jose St.
Adrian Oliver Adrian Oliver
9-18,  22 Pts
2 Rebs, 2 Assists
 St. Mary's
Diamon Simpson Diamon Simpson
7-13,  20 Pts
13 Rebs, 0 Assists

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Saturday, Dec 27