MORAGA -- Saint Mary's College sophomore Jordan Giusti enjoyed hearing the crowd chanting his name again in the Gaels' 89-61 rout of Loyola Marymount on Saturday at McKeon Pavilion.
It has been a quiet season for Giusti, a former walk-on and a crowd favorite last season for his dogged defense.
This time, Giusti was 4 for 5 from 3-point range, including making three in a row in a soaring first-half sequence. He had a career-high 15 points in the West Coast Conference battle -- nearly 12 above his season average.
"I love that," Giusti said of the chants. "I was in a little bit of a slump, and to get out of it really helps. I've just got to keep it up."
Saint Mary's 6-foot-9 junior Brad Waldow was dominant, finishing with game highs of 27 points and 10 rebounds in the Gaels' fourth straight win to conclude a 5-1 homestand.
Guard Kerry Carter added 15 points on 5-for-8 shooting for the Gaels (16-5, 6-2), who will begin a four-game trip at San Diego on Thursday.
Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett was impressed with his team's effort, especially on defense. Lions standout Anthony Ireland scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half when the game was out of reach.
"I thought we played one of our best games of the year," Bennett said. "Giusti hitting those threes early really helped us get some separation. I thought a lot of guys played well. ... Loyola's good. They just had a win on the road."
Giusti, as a redshirt freshman last season, saw action in all 35 Gaels' games, including two NCAA tournament games.
"The last couple of games he's been playing better," Bennett said. "I have more confidence in him because he's playing more like he used to, hustling and defending and helping us."
A grinning Giusti said his teammates were calling him "shooter" and "the quickest trigger in the West" after the game.
"It was funny to hear because it's something I've never heard before," Giusti said. "It's just awesome that they were supporting me and helping me out."
After the Lions (11-11, 3-7), who have lost seven of their last eight games, trimmed an 18-point halftime deficit to 11 points, Waldow ignited another Gaels' surge, highlighted by his alley-oop dunk off a pass from Giusti. He retreated into the backcourt to control a loose ball before spotting Waldow standing by the basket.
"My eyes lit up," Giusti said of the play. "That's just a lot of fun."
Waldow was 11 for 16 from the floor and 5 for 5 from the free-throw line. He was also devastating on pick-and-rolls from the top of the key.
The Gaels controlled the first half, leading 42-24 when the buzzer sounded. The margin was 37-16 after a Waldow dunk off a Lions turnover with 4:14 remaining.
Giusti had three straight 3-pointers as the Gaels forged to a 26-7 lead.
Saint Mary's (16-5, 6-2 WCC) at San Diego (12-10, 3-6),
7 p.m. ESPNU