Raivio leads Portland over No. 22 Saint Mary’s
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)—The way things went in Saint Mary’s first game without Patty Mills, the next four weeks can’t go by fast enough for the Gaels.
Nik Raivio scored 27 points and Portland extended its best start in West Coast Conference history with an 84-66 rout of No. 22 Saint Mary’s on Saturday, the Pilots’ first win over a ranked team in more than 27 years.
Mills, the Gaels’ sensational playmaking guard from Australia, broke two bones in his right hand while falling to the floor during the first half of a loss to Gonzaga on Thursday. He’s expected to miss about a month.
“Your heart goes out to them a little bit, because they’re in a tough spot,” said Portland coach Eric Reveno. “I feel sorry for them. That’s a tough thing to bounce back from.”
Without their best player and his 18.7 points per game, the Gaels couldn’t answer the hot shooting of Portland, which connected at a 59 percent clip (32-of-54) from the field.
Jared Stohl was 6-of-7 from beyond the arc and finished with 18 points for the Pilots. T.J. Campbell added three 3-pointers and had 13 points, and Luke Sikma finished with 10.
Portland (15-7, 6-1) was 6-for-6 from long range in the second half, helping give the Pilots their first win over a ranked team since beating No. 19 Oregon State 68-63 on Dec. 11, 1981.
“I told (our players) that they should enjoy this and feel good about being good,” Reveno said. “But we’ve got to keep our nose to the grindstone.”
Portland moved into second place in the conference ahead of the Gaels (18-3, 5-2), with both teams chasing No. 20 Gonzaga. The Pilots, winners of six straight, host the Bulldogs on Thursday night at the Chiles Center.
“We’ve got our work cut out for us,” Reveno said. “I hear (Gonzaga) is pretty good.”
If nothing else, the homecourt advantage should help. Portland is 10-1 at home this season, including an 80-74 win over No. 23 Washington when the Huskies were unranked.
Omar Samhan had 18 points and Daimon Simpson added 14 points and 10 rebounds to lead Saint Mary’s. Wayne Hunter scored a season-high 12 points off the bench, and Lucas Walker also had 10 off the bench.
Even without Mills, Saint Mary’s built an early 21-12 lead and seemed to be cruising along.
Then everything fell apart.
Portland used a 9-1 run to cut into the lead late in the first half, and after Samhan made a pair of free throws, Portland scored 13 straight points— highlighted by consecutive 3s by Stohl, Campbell and Raivio—to take a 36-27 lead with 1:27 left in the half.
The Pilots pushed the lead to 13 when Campbell hit his third 3-pointer of the game early in the second half, and a few minutes later Raivio hit another 3-pointer to push the lead to 56-41 with 12:54 left in the game.
Samhan picked up two offensive fouls in the first seven minutes of the second half, and the Gaels were never the same after that.
“Those charges were huge,” Reveno said. “Those were good defensive plays. Those were the defensive plays that win games for you.”