Ford scores 21 to lead Saint Mary’s over San Diego, 66-46
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Jordan Ford scored 21 points and Malik Fitts had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Saint Mary’s Gaels, who beat the cold-shooting San Diego Toreros 66-46 Saturday night for their fourth straight win.
Tanner Krebs and Tommy Kuhse had 10 points apiece and Jordan Hunter 11 rebounds for the Gaels (19-10, 10-4 West Coast), who won for the sixth time in seven games. They came in tied for third in the league with San Francisco, behind No. 2 Gonzaga and BYU.
Senior Isaiah Pineiro had 13 points and 14 rebounds on Senior Night for the Toreros (17-12, 6-8), who continued to struggle down the stretch under first-year coach Sam Scholl. The 46 points were a season-low as they lost for the fifth time in seven games, including going 1-3 on their final homestand.
Pineiro, who leads USD in scoring and rebounding, had his seventh double-double in the last eight games and his 13th this season. Olin Carter III had 12 points and Isaiah Wright 10.
The combination of Ford, a junior guard who leads the WCC in scoring, plus big men Fitts and Hunter was too much for the Toreros.
Ford had eight points, including a 3-pointer, in a 12-4 run midway through the first half that gave the Gaels a 10-point lead and helped carry them to a 29-20 halftime lead.
The Gaels had a 17-point lead midway through the second half before USD closed within 11. But Ford hit a dagger 3 — and held his follow-through for a few seconds — to give Saint Mary’s a 47-33 lead.
Saint Mary’s outrebounded San Diego 43-30 and the Toreros shot only 29.4 percent from the floor (15 of 51).
Saint Mary’s: The Gaels, who swept the season series with San Diego, will finish the regular season at home, Thursday night against last-place Portland, which is winless in the conference, and Saturday night against first-place and No. 2-ranked Gonzaga.
San Diego: The Toreros’ late-season collapse cost them at shot at being one of the WCC’s top four seeds for the conference tournament. They went 1-3 in their final four home games, including losses to BYU and then-No. 3 Gonzaga.
Saint Mary’s hosts Portland on Thursday night.
San Diego is at San Francisco on Thursday night.