Hermanson helps No. 21 Saint Mary's soar past Portland

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[January 13, 2017]  Calvin Hermanson had the hot hand early to help No. 21 Saint Mary's roll to a 74-33 victory over Portland in a West Coast Conference game Thursday night at the Chiles Center in Portland, Ore.

Hermanson had a career-high 27 points and six rebounds for Saint Mary's (15-1, 5-0 WCC), which has won nine in a row. Jock Landale had eight points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots.

Jazz Johnson scored 13 points for Portland (9-7, 2-2). West Coast Conference scoring leader Alec Wintering was held to four points on 1-of-9 shooting.

Hermanson waited more than three minutes to get his first basket, but then he got hot, scoring 17 points over a span of 7:15 to fuel a 25-4 run. Hermanson sank seven consecutive shots during that barrage, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range.

"He played at a really high level tonight," Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said. "He didn't play much last game because of foul trouble, so I think he didn't want that to be the case again and he played well. It is fun to watch him play like that."

The Gaels took an 11-2 lead on Hermanson's first 3-pointer and went up 20-2 on his second. Hermanson made a layup to put Saint Mary's up by 20 and added another to give them a 29-6 lead.

Alec Wintering made a 3-pointer to get the deficit back down to 20, but the Gaels ended the half with an 8-0 run to carry a staggering 37-9 advantage into the break. Saint Mary's shot over 48 percent and made seven 3-pointers in the opening half. Portland went 4 of 21 from the field and 1 of 6 at the free-throw line.

"We didn't come out with focus or energy and they gave it to us," Portland coach Terry Porter said. "I thought they did a great job in regards to what they tried to get accomplished offensively. We just underestimated them. I don't know what it was. We just didn't do a good job of coming out and really competing."

The Gaels went up by 31 on a 3-pointer by Hermanson early in the second half. They took a 47-12 lead on a jumper by Landale and later led by as many as 44 following a layup by Dane Pineau.

 "Probably the best game we've played for 40 minutes," Bennett said. "It is hard to do that, to keep it rolling like that. I think we did a great job defensively."

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St. Mary's Gaels forward Calvin Hermanson (24) celebrates with teammates during the second half in a game against the Portland Pilots at Earle A. Chiles Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Saint Mary's went into the contest ranked third in the nation in scoring defense after holding its first 15 opponents to 58.1 points per game. In their first four conference games, the Gaels held each of their opponents under 44.5-percent shooting.

They did it again against the Pilots.

Portland shot just 25 percent from the field. The Pilots made only 2 of 9 from beyond the arc.

Saint Mary's shot 50 percent from the field and made 12 of 30 from 3-point range. The Gaels amassed a massive 50-16 rebounding advantage.

"I think we did a great job defensively, especially on Wintering and Johnson," Bennett said. "We just did a great job on defense tonight."

NOTES: Going into the game, Saint Mary's was leading the West Coast Conference in shooting percentage (.501), 3-point shooting (.396), assists per game (17.5), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5), opponents' points per game (58.1) and rebounding margin (9.9). ... The Gaels have been ranked in both major polls for 10 consecutive weeks. ... The Pilots entered the contest ranked second in the WCC in 3-point shooting (.394). ... Saint Mary's F Calvin Hermanson and Portland G Jazz Johnson both attended the same high school in Lake Oswego, Ore.

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