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Mills' huge game helps St. Mary's upset Oregon

Nov 21, 2007 - 7:47 AM MORAGA, California (Ticker) -- In just his fourth college game, Patrick Mills spoiled Oregon coach Ernie Kent's return to his former school.

Mills scored a school-record 37 points to lead St. Mary's to a 99-87 upset victory over 11th-ranked Oregon on Tuesday.

Kent, who directed the Gaels from 1991-1997 in his first stint as a coach, left the school to take the job with the Ducks. Kent and his final St. Mary's team won the school's lone West Coast Conference tournament title in 1996-97.

"We've been waiting for big moments like this, so it's no surprise to me," Gaels forward Diamon Simpson said. "This is definitely my first time seeing Patty (Mills) go crazy like that. He was on fire tonight."

"If we keep getting better and keep playing well, the rest of what comes with it will happen," Gaels coach Randy Bennett said. "The atmosphere was unbelievable. This is probably the best non-conference team we've played here during my seven years."

Despite leading just 38-35 at the half, the Gaels (4-0) never trailed and increased its advantage to 56-46 just four minutes after intermission. Mills, a native of Australia, scored eight of his 20 second-half points during the 18-11 run.

"The difference to me was our intensity level," Ducks guard Kamyron Brown said. "We didn't come out ready to play and then we stayed at that level, thinking they would drop."

Oregon's Maarty Leunen converted a layup at the 9:09 mark of the second half to trim the lead to 70-64, but Mills had six points as St. Mary's answered with a 17-8 run over the next seven minutes to build an 87-72 advantage.

Mills finished 10-of-20 from the field with four 3-pointers en route to finishing with the freshman record for most points in a single game.

"If he plays that way every night, he's a pro," Kent said.

Students rushed the floor as soon as the buzzer sounded to celebrate the upset.

"Firstly, being a freshman coming from Australia, I've never been part of an atmosphere like this before," Mills said. "To win that, it's unbelievable and it's just a great start to the season."

Simpson had 18 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks and Omar Samhan added 16 points for St. Mary's, which is 4-0 for the first time since starting with five straight wins to begin the 1993-94 campaign under Kent.

Brown scored 20 points, Leunen had 17 and 11 rebounds and Tajuan Porter chipped in 13 points for Oregon (4-1).