St. Mary’s closes first half on 25-0 run, blitzes San Jose State

Midway through the first half at McKeon Pavilion on Saturday, St. Mary’s led San Jose State 19-17.

And that’s your Spartans replay.

The rest of the half belonged to the Gaels. As in a 25-0 run over the final 10:45. As in, St. Mary’s led 44-17 at the break.

The second half was merely academic as St. Mary’s coasted to a 75-45 victory.

The first 2½ minutes of the game must have seemed like a nightmare to San Jose State head coach Jean Prioleau: The Spartans committed turnovers on each of their first four possessions, and St. Mary’s bolted to a 9-0 lead.

Malik Fitts capped that run with a steal that he converted into a three-point play.

The Spartans responded by scoring the next nine points to tie the game. And when Noah Baumann hit a three-pointer with 10:46 left in the half, San Jose State trailed 19-17.

St. Mary’s proceeded to score the next 25 points.

Tanner Krebs began the stretch by connecting twice from beyond the arc. A steal by Jordan Hunter led to a dunk by Elijah Thomas — and so it went.

When the Spartans weren’t committing a turnover (they had 13 in the opening half), they might be shooting an airball.

Meanwhile, the Gaels kept adding to their lead. Freshman forward Matthias Tass scored the final four points — on a dunk and a layup — of the half, and the Gaels took a 27-point lead to the locker room.

At that moment, you figure a lot of the St. Mary’s fans began looking forward to the Gaels’ WCC opener at USF on Thursday night.

Krebs led St. Mary’s (9-6) with 20 points. He hit his first four three-point attempts and finished 6-for-9 from beyond the arc. Point guard Jordan Ford contributed 16 points and five assists.

The loss was the third in a row for San Jose State (3-9). In the previous two (at Stanford and at Cal), the Spartans were highly competitive. They were nowhere near that at McKeon on Saturday.

They finished with 19 turnovers committed and shot 16-for-50 from the floor.

Oumar Barry led San Jose State with 11 points.

Briefly: In a pregame ceremony, St. Mary’s honored head coach Randy Bennett for his 400th career win, which he earned in an 85-56 rout of Bucknell on Dec. 19. … The Gaels prevailed 79-61 at San Jose State last season. St. Mary’s has won all eight matchups with the Spartans since Bennett became the Gaels’ head coach before the 2001-02 season.

Steve Kroner is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: skroner@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @SteveKronerSF

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/collegesports/article/St-Mary-s-closes-first-half-on-25-0-run-13497915.php.

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