Landale leads No. 16 Saint Mary’s past BYU again, 75-62

Saint Mary's guard Cullen Neal (44) loses the ball as he is guarded by BYU guard TJ Haws (30) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Moraga, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Moraga, Calif. • Wherever he ends up playing next, Saint Mary’s big man Jock Landale is going to miss playing BYU.

The 6-foot-11 senior from Australia turned in another dominating performance against the Cougars, and No. 16-ranked SMC escaped another BYU upset bid, this time at McKeon Pavilion in front of 3,500 frenzied fans. Landale scored 30 points on 13-of-19 shooting and the West Coast Conference-leading Gaels took a 75-62 win in a season sweep of the Cougars.

“They’re good,” said BYU coach Dave Rose, when asked the key to beating the Gaels. “You have to make open shots.”

The Cougars shot 42.6 percent, while the Gaels shot 53.7 and made nine 3-pointers.

“The nine 3s were probably the difference,” Rose said. “We wanted to make the game about 2s.”

BYU, which fell 74-64 in overtime to SMC back on Dec. 30 at the Marriott Center, dropped to 17-5 and 6-3 with the loss, while Saint Mary’s improved to 20-2 and 9-0 in league play. It was the 15th straight win for Saint Mary’s, tying a school record.

Fittingly, Landale’s 3-pointer with seven minutes remaining, his first of the season, was the dagger. That put the Gaels up 59-51 and handed Saint Mary’s its fifth straight win over BYU.

“It came down to where we needed a couple stops, but they were really good,” Rose said, lamenting how Saint Mary’s point guard Emmett Naar was able to get to the rim all night and also deliver 12 assists. “Naar is smart. He’s one of the best in the country at assisting the ball.”

The Cougars’ best moments came after halftime, when they turned around a 33-30 deficit at the break and led by two a couple times before the first media timeout.

After BYU took a 39-37 lead, however, Saint Mary’s Jordan Ford and Tanner Krebs hit 3-pointers to right the ship for the home team, and Krebs hit another triple at the 12-minute mark to extend the lead to five.

The Gaels went four straight possessions without scoring — BYU calls those consecutive stops a “kill” — but the Cougars couldn’t capitalize. Zac Seljaas and Yoeli Childs missed point-blank shots, and Elijah Bryant and TJ Haws were off on open 3-pointers.

“Sometimes the shots, they don’t fall,” Haws said. “That’s why we gotta trust our defense and get stops.”

Haws led BYU with 15 points after a slow start and Childs had 14 points before fouling out. Bryant added 13. Naar had 12 assists and 13 points for Saint Mary’s.

The Cougars hit five of their first six shots and stuck with the Gaels in the critical first 10 minutes. McKay Cannon’s driving layup with 8:30 remaining in the first half cut Saint Mary’s lead to two.

However, well-traveled fifth-year grad transfer Cullen Neal hit a big 3-pointer to push Saint Mary’s advantage to 26-21, and the Gaels kept the lead through the remainder of the half.

Saint Mary’s led by as many as 10 points in the first half and was seemingly poised to blow it open when Childs went to the bench with his second foul with 4:46 left in the half.

Saint Mary’s scored two points the rest of the half, though, and the Cougars scored the final five points to go into the locker room trailing by just 33-30.

Haws didn’t score until 1:50 remained in the first half, hitting a 3-pointer, and was 1 of 5 in the first 20 minutes. Bryant led the Cougars in the first half with nine points, and Childs had six before sitting out the final four-plus minutes.

BYU committed six fouls in the first three minutes of the second half, and the Gaels got into the bonus. The Cougars attempted 11 free throws.

“We had a few where I would question if we should have got to the free-throw line,” Rose said, specifically pointing out a couple of Bryant’s drives to the basket that ended with no whistles.

Offensively, Haws and Rose thought the Cougars played well enough to win. Defensively, they ran Dalton Nixon, Luke Worthington, Childs and Payton Dastrup at Landale, with not much success.

“Saint Mary’s, any time you really make a mistake on defense, they capitalize on it,” Haws said.