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Saint Mary's evens road record with narrow win over Santa Clara

Feb 12, 2008 - 7:51 AM SANTA CLARA, California (Ticker) -- Saint Mary's may be unstoppable at home but it continues to look fallible on the road this season.

Tron Smith scored 15 points and Diamon Simpson added 12 and seven rebounds as No. 21 Saint Mary's opened a three-game road trip with a narrow 54-50 victory against Santa Clara in the West Coast Conference on Monday.

The Gaels (21-3, 8-1 WCC) have won 15 consecutive home games, posting a 13-0 record there this season. Despite the dominance on its own court, Saint Mary's is just 3-3 on the road this season after beating Santa Clara.

John Bryant scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Broncos (12-11, 4-4), who had a chance to take the lead with the score tied at 50-50 with just 1:21 remaining after Mitch Henke made a crucial steal and called a timeout after recovering the loose ball.

Bryant, who leads the WCC with 11 double-doubles this season, received the ball in the lane, but stepped on the baseline while trying to spin away from a pair of defenders, turning the ball over to Saint Mary's.

On the ensuing possession, Smith's jumper fell short, but Simpson grabbed the airball and was fouled underneath the hoop while attempting a layup.

Simpson made both free throws - his first two of the game - giving the Gaels a 52-50 lead with just over 24 seconds left to play.

Santa Clara failed to tie the score as Brody Angley missed a turnaround jumper from just outside the lane on the low left block. Smith grabbed the rebound and was immediately fouled before making both of his free throws to seal the victory for Saint Mary's.

Angley, who surpassed the 1,000 point plateau last week, scored 11 points and pulled down seven rebounds against Saint Mary's but made just 3-of-13 shots from the floor.

Saint Mary's led by as many as 13 points in the first half as Smith scored eight points on two 3-pointers and a pair of free throws while Santa Clara managed just 30 percent (7-of-23) shooting from the field.

After trailing by 10 points entering halftime, Santa Clara opened the second half on a 21-11 run, tying the score at 41-41 on a 3-pointer by Jonathan Gunderson - his only points of the game - with 8:55 remaining in the game, forcing Saint Mary's to take a timeout.

Saint Mary's scored a pair of fastbreak buckets following the timeout to take a brief four-point lead.

But the Broncos countered with a 7-2 spurt, taking a 48-47 lead when Angley split a pair of free throws with 4:31 left in the game.

After Smith tied the game with a free throw and Patrick Mills made a layup to put Saint Mary's back up by two, Bryant tied the score at 50-50 with a pair of free throws.