Defense Carries No. 16 St. Mary's Past Men's Basketball, 75-56, in Seahawk Holiday Classic Opener
ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. - Led by a tenacious defense and three players in double-digits, nationally-ranked host St. Mary's defeated the Swarthmore College men's basketball team (3-7, 2-3) by a score of 75-56 on Saturday afternoon in the second game of the Seahawk Holiday Classic.
Senior Will Gates led the Garnet effort with 17 points off the bench. Junior Joe Keedy recorded his third double-double of the season with 11 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Junior Jay Kober added 10 points.
Donn Hill led the Seahawks (9-1) with a game-high 19 points, while Brendan McFall (14 points) and Nick LaGuerre (13 points) also reached double-figures.
The Seahawks suffocating defense was a major factor in the outcome of the game, forcing 21 Garnet turnovers with 11 steals. St. Mary's also did an excellent job of protecting the rim, swatting away seven shots, including three each from McFalk and MacGyver Biniak.
The loss snapped the Garnet's three-game winning streak.
Despite stepping on the court for the first time in 17 days, the Garnet showed no signs of rust in the early going, playing the nationally-ranked Seahawks toe-to-toe for the opening 15 minutes. Swarthmore took its first lead of the game on a three-pointer from sophomore Karl Barkley at the 11:11 mark (13-10). Five minutes later, a triple from Keedy trimmed the Seahawks' lead to just 20-19.
A one-point game with just over six minutes to play in the first half, St. Mary's used its defense to take control of the game for good. Thanks in part to seven Swarthmore turnovers, the Seahawks closed out the half on a 15-4 run, taking a 35-23 lead into the locker room.
In the second half, the Garnet simply could not keep pace with the Seahawks. St. Mary's lead ballooned to as large as 23 points, en route to a 75-56 victory.
St. Mary's finished the game shooting 42 percent from the field (25-of-59), while Swarthmore was limited to just 34 percent (20-of-59). The Garnet finished the game with nine three-pointers, with Gates leading the way with three.
It's a quick turnaround for the Garnet, who close out the Seahawk Holiday Classic against Old Westbury tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.