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Mills, Saint Mary's deny Sutton win No. 800

Jan 27, 2008 - 6:09 AM SAN FRANCISCO (Ticker) -- Patrick Mills made sure that San Francisco coach Eddie Sutton would not get career win No. 800 against Saint Mary's.

The Gaels freshman point guard scored 24 points and Omar Samhan added 16 and 14 rebounds as No. 24 Saint Mary's cruised past the Dons, 79-57, in a West Coast Conference rout on Saturday.

It was the second-highest point total for Mills, who shot 9-of-16 from the field, including 4-of-8 from the arc.

The loss was the second straight for the Dons and coach Sutton after he won his 799th career game on January 19. San Francisco had dropped a 72-64 decision to Gonzaga on Monday and with Saturday's loss, Sutton is now 1-6 since taking over in San Francisco.

The Gaels (17-2, 4-0 WCC), who have now won five straight contests, led from start to finish and slowly built a 25-14 lead with 8:09 left in the half.

The Dons closed the first half strong though, scoring the final five points of the half - capped on a layup by Danny Cavic - to pull within 35-30 at the break.

Saint Mary's won the battle on the boards in the first half, outrebounding San Francisco, 20-6, while Mills had 14 of his points in the opening half.

The Dons (5-14, 1-3) were still down by four early in the second half but Saint Mary's started to pull away with a 7-0 spurt, taking a 47-36 bulge with 13:57 remaining.

The Gaels continued to put the game away as Mills scored five points during a 9-0 burst that gave Saint Mary's a 58-40 lead with 9:07 to play. San Francisco could never put together a run and the Gaels' advantage grew to as many as 72-46 on a jumper by Samhan with 4:01 remaining.

Tron Smith had 11 points off the bench for the Gaels, who have beaten the Dons in four straight meetings and are off to their best start in conference play since 1989.

Saint Mary's shot 54 percent (30-of-56) from the field and the Gaels' bench outscored the Dons' bench, 23-2, for the game.

San Francisco shot just 37 percent (11-of-30) in the second half after making 56 percent (14-of-25) of its shots in the opening 20 minutes.

Manny Quezada and Dior Lowhorn each had 19 points for the Dons, who have lost nine of their last 10.