SAN FRANCISCO -- The Saint Mary's College men's basketball team held off a furious late rally by USF to post a 67-63 win Wednesday at War Memorial Gymnasium.
The Gaels had to sweat out the final minute but ultimately earned their 16th straight victory over their longtime rival.
An Australian guard was responsible for some of Saint Mary's biggest plays down the stretch. And it wasn't Matthew Dellavedova.
On an off-night for the Aussie Olympian, Jorden Page picked up the scoring load to lead Saint Mary's to its sixth consecutive victory in West Coast Conference play. The junior from Queensland contributed 19 points -- perhaps none bigger than his two free throws with four seconds left that made it a four-point game.
"He played well, and we rolled with him," Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said of Page. "He's a momentum player. He can get on a roll. ... I told him yesterday at practice, 'You're playing well. Come on, let's get on a roll.' "
Page finished with his second-highest point total of the season after scoring just 10 total points in Saint Mary's previous six games.
Early on, it appeared Saint Mary's (18-4, 7-1 WCC) would easily continue its recent dominance over USF (9-13, 2-7) with defense and rebounding. The Gaels got off to a quick start and led 37-23 at halftime.
But USF's Tim Derksen made for a tense finish when he was fouled while converting a layup with 10 seconds left. Derksen made the free throw,
"We had a decent lead down the stretch with about three minutes to go, then we let them have easy buckets," Saint Mary's guard Stephen Holt said. "We didn't knock down shots and had a couple turnovers. But at the end of the day a road win is a road win, so we're happy about that."
The Gaels never trailed and led by as many as 16 in the second half before USF's late comeback.
"We played well, but in the last five or six minutes we didn't defend as well as we needed to," Bennett said.
Brad Waldow added 13 points and eight rebounds for the Gaels, while Holt and Mitchell Young just missed double-doubles. Holt, a junior guard, pulled down 14 boards to lead Saint Mary's to a 44-22 rebounding advantage. He also scored nine points.
Young had nine points and nine rebounds.
Cody Doolin connected on his first four attempts from beyond the arc and led USF with 16 points.
Last year the Gaels clinched the outright WCC championship on the Dons' floor. This year's win keeps them in second place in the conference standings behind Gonzaga.