11/14 23:56 CST Kuhse, Tass help No. 18 Saint Mary's beat Long Beach State
Kuhse, Tass help No. 18 Saint Mary's beat Long Beach State
By MICHAEL WAGAMAN
MORAGA, Calif. (AP) --- Saint Mary's repeatedly went at Long Beach State in the
post to build an early lead. Then, the Gaels changed up and went outside to
pull away in the second half.
Tommy Kuhse had a career-high 20 points and eight assists and No. 18 Saint
Mary's bounced back three days after losing its home opener and beat Long Beach
State 81-63 on Thursday night.
Matthias Tass added 22 points and five rebounds for the Gaels, who never
trailed in the first matchup between the teams since 2010.
"We just played as a team," Tass said. "We moved the ball around. We had like
five or six assists in the previous game so we just tried to share the ball. We
know that we have a lot of weapons out there. Especially when they played zone
against us, we can move the ball and everyone shot the ball well tonight. I got
my layups, Tommy got his 3s."
Colin Slater had 14 points for Long Beach State (1-3). The Beach have lost 25
consecutive games against ranked teams, dating to 2011.
Saint Mary's (2-1) shook off a sluggish start and led by 22 after Kuhse's third
3-pointer of the second half. Kuhse, who had not scored in the Gaels first two
games, was 4 of 4 from beyond the arc.
The blowout comes after coach Randy Bennett's team won its first two games by
two points, including a 61-59 loss to Winthrop on Monday.
"We took a step in the right direction," Bennett said. "I've said all along I
think we can be good but we're not that good yet. But we took some steps there
tonight. This was a really good win for us. We played really well."
Saint Mary's trailed early and didn't lead until back-to-back 3s from Malik
Fitts and Jordan Ford midway through the first half. Kuhse helped settle the
offense with seven assists before the break, and Tass had three dunks,
including one with defenders on both sides as he went up.
The Gaels stayed sharp in the second half. Kuhse made a pair of 3s to put Saint
Mary's ahead by 20, and Ford scored on consecutive trips down the floor to make
"It's just a matter of trusting each other and getting that culture
re-established as to getting the ball moving and helping each other score,"
Kuhse said. "Because when we do that we're really tough to guard."
Long Beach State: The Beach have yet to figure out who their go-to scorer will
be this season. That's both a blessing and a curse. The upside is that Long
Beach State is getting points from a wide range of players. The downside is
that there is no one to get the offense going, especially when the rest of the
team is struggling to score.
St. Mary's: The Gaels looked like they were still feeling the effects of the
loss to Winthrop early, but settled down and eventually pulled away. Tass
provided a big lift early, but it was Kuhse who set the tone with his passing
and perimeter shooting. Another encouraging sign were the 18 assists that Saint
Mary's dished out.
Beating Long Beach State after losing to Winthrop won't change the mind of many
voters, so Saint Mary's will definitely fall in the rankings. It's just a
matter of how far.
FORD'S SLOW NIGHT
Ford went into the game leading Saint Mary's with 24 points a game, but took a
back seat in the offense against Long Beach State. Ford took only six shots and
finished with 10 points.
The Gaels made 12 3-pointers after going 13 of 35 beyond the arc in the first
two games combined. The single-game school record is 19 set against Cal Poly in
Long Beach State: The Beach will get the weekend off before hosting Fresno
Pacific on Nov. 22.
St. Mary's: Hosts Cal-Poly on Sunday. The Gaels have won six of the last seven
games between the two non-conference opponents.
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