Thursday's 61-47 win over visiting Pepperdine served as further proof that the No. 24-ranked Saint Mary's College men's basketball team is flat-out hard to beat at home.

Now, the Gaels get another chance to test their mettle on the road.

With a tough three-game road stretch looming, Saint Mary's put an end to a wildly successful homestand by winning its eighth straight game.

The game marked the end of a four-game run at McKeon Pavilion that not only yielded four wins, including a 21-point blowout of Gonzaga, but also saw the Gaels enter both national polls and push their record to 18-2.

It was also a period of play that continued to define Saint Mary's (7-0 West Coast Conference) as a team.

Offensive balance has become a hallmark for the Gaels lately, and the stat sheet reflected that again Thursday. Rob Jones led the way, getting his 12th double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Matthew Dellavedova added 13 points and Stephen Holt chipped in with 12.

Tough defense has also become a Saint Mary's staple, and that was on display early against the Waves.

Noted lately for his increased scoring, Holt got the crowd involved early with his familiar defensive intensity. His steal and subsequent layup in transition provided the highlight as the Gaels scored the game's first six points.

The real run came a few moments later. Jones scored five points to key an 9-0 run that pushed Saint Mary's lead to 21-8 with just under 10 minutes left in the half.

Pepperdine (7-11, 1-6) managed to close the gap a little thanks to two 3-pointers by Caleb Willis. That didn't stop the Gaels, who carried a 29-21 lead into halftime when a desperation shot at the buzzer by the Waves wasn't close.

Things did get close out of halftime, as Pepperdine went on a 7-0 run right out of the locker room.

Saint Mary's turned that around quickly, though, as 3-pointers by Holt and Jorden Page and a tip-in by Mitchell Young pushed the lead to 9. Young hurt his left ankle on the play and had to come off limping but eventually returned to the game.

Pepperdine kept things close for the next few minutes, but Saint Mary's had an answer every time the Waves tried to make a move. Things finally got out of hand when the Gaels went on a 9-0 run to take a 59-44 lead with 5:56 left. Willis led Pepperdine with 14 points.

Now, the focus for Saint Mary's shifts away from Moraga. The trip starts Saturday, when the Gaels head to Santa Clara to take on the Broncos at 8 p.m.

They'll follow that up with a trip to Loyola Marymount on Jan. 26 to face a Lions team threw that threw its hat in the WCC title picture by beating BYU on Thursday. The stretch concludes when Saint Mary's heads to BYU on Jan. 28 for their first look at the 22,700-seat Marriott Center.

  • Saint Mary's announced Thursday that it has added a game against Cal State Northridge on March 9 at 7 p.m. in Moraga.