MORAGA -- Saint Mary's basketball coach Randy Bennett summed up his team's 79-73 win over Pacific on Saturday night succinctly and accurately.

"Weird game," he said as he glanced over the stat sheet.

Both teams had to overcome constant whistles from the officials, who handed out a combined 60 fouls, and the Gaels had to rally back from an early 10-point deficit.

But with Stephen Holt, Brad Waldow and Kerry Carter providing a bulk of the scoring, Saint Mary's earned a comeback win in front of a crowd of 3,327 at McKeon Pavilion that kept them in third place in the West Coast Conference standings.

Holt, a senior point guard, scored 20 of his career-high 26 points in the second half and gave the Gaels the lead for good with 11:10 left on a three-point play. Carter also set a career-high with 21 points, making 5 of 7 shots from beyond the arc, and grabbed seven rebounds.

Carter's biggest shot was a 3-pointer that beat the halftime buzzer, which cut Pacific's lead to 38-31 and gave Saint Mary's (14-5, 4-2 WCC) some momentum heading into the locker room.

Waldow then scored the Gaels' first seven points right after halftime as they began chipping away at Pacific's lead. He finished with 22.

"We weren't being the aggressor in the first half," said Holt, who earned 16 of his points at the free-throw line. "We like to get up and down and have a lot of possessions. In the second half we finally did that."

Saint Mary's needed productive games from Holt, Waldow and Carter with starters Beau Levesque and James Walker III in foul trouble virtually all game.

"There were a lot of crazy calls both ways, and that's part of the game," Bennett said. "We can play smarter. It definitely affected the game both ways."

Pacific (10-7, 1-5) had four players foul out, most of them in the final minute after cutting Saint Mary's lead to four points. The Gaels made enough free throws to hold on.

"We survived," Bennett said. "(Pacific) played well and we played well in the second half."

No Saint Mary's players fouled out, but five finished with four personals.

A game plagued by whistles even started with a foul. Pacific was assessed a technical for dunking in warm-ups, and Carter made one of two free throws to give Saint Mary's a lead before the game even tipped off.

The Gaels led by as many 14 points with 5:29 to play after a 3-point barrage, most of them by Carter.

The junior college transfer didn't have outstanding shooting numbers at Citrus College but is connecting on 47 percent of his attempts from beyond for the arc in his first season at Saint Mary's.

Thursday's game
Pepperdine (12-8, 5-3 WCC) at Saint Mary's (14-5, 4-2), 7 p.m.