St. Mary’s 84, Cal 71:

San Francisco Chronicle - Late Edition (Sunday) - - SPORTING GREEN - By Steve Kroner

Ma­lik Fitts scores 19 points and St. Mary’s ends a four-game los­ing streak.

St. Mary’s car­ried the weight of its first fourgame los­ing streak since Fe­bru­ary 2007 into its matchup with Cal at McKeon Pav­il­ion on Satur­day night.

The Gaels em­phat­i­cally avoided los­ing five in a row for the first time since the 2001-02 season, Randy Ben­nett’s first in Mor­aga.

St. Mary’s dis­man­tled the Bears 84-71.

“You can get beat down by los­ing,” Ben­nett said. “We’ve haven’t had to deal with this for a while, but that’s how it goes some­times. I’m most pleased that our guys kept be­liev­ing and kept play­ing.”

Said ju­nior guard Jor­dan Ford, who had 16 points and a game-high seven as­sists: “Even though it’s been a tough stretch, we just stuck to­gether. That’s what makes a nice, tight team.”

The Gaels went 30for-50 (60 per­cent) from the floor, in­clud­ing 13for-25 on three-point tries. St. Mary’s (4-4) owned a 30-24 re­bound­ing edge and had 19 as­sists to Cal’s six.

That last num­ber did not sit well with Cal head coach Wyk­ing Jones.

“That’s a prob­lem and we have to fix that. We will fix that,” Jones said. “Right now, it’s too many guys go­ing one on one, too many guys try­ing to take peo­ple off the bounce and do it them­selves and play hero ball.

“We shoot the ball too well to not drive and kick out to shoot­ers.”

St. Mary’s sopho­more for­ward Ma­lik Fitts scored 19 points. Fresh­man for­ward Dan Fotu knocked down all four of his three-point at­tempts en route to 16 points. Sopho­more guard Tommy Kuhse made his first ca­reer start and though his num­bers (five points, six as­sists) weren’t eye-pop­ping, his pres­ence on the floor clearly helped take some of the load off Ford. Sopho­more for­ward Jus­tice Sue­ing led Cal (2-4) with 16 points.

St. Mary’s led by three mid­way through the first half and then went on a 10-0 run.

Fitts con­verted a fol­low be­fore Fotu nailed two foul shots. Krebs buried a three and then Fotu did like­wise off a nice feed from Matthias Tass. Just like that the Gaels were up 31-18 with about eight min­utes to go be­fore the in­ter­mis­sion.

St. Mary’s was up 45-30 at half­time and put away the game in the first five min­utes of the sec­ond half. The sig­na­ture se­quence: Paris Austin drove for a layup at­tempt that was re­jected by Jor­dan Hunter. The ball went to Ford, who led a fast break that was capped by his al­ley-oop pass to Hunter. The se­nior cen­ter threw down a dunk, got fouled and com­pleted the three-point play.

That made it 57-32, St. Mary’s, with 15:38 re­main­ing.

Play­ing the Bears re­mains spe­cial for the Gaels.

“This is one of those games at the be­gin­ning of the year you have cir­cled,” said swing­man Tan­ner Krebs, who had 11 points. It’s like, ‘Yeah, It’s Cal. It’s a big game.’ To be able to come out and play the way we did and to beat them the way we did was a re­ally good feel­ing.”

Briefly: Cal hadn’t played at McKeon since 1988. Last year, St. Mary’s beat the Bears 74-63 in Berke­ley. … Cal, which beat Santa Clara 78-66 on Mon­day, com­pletes its three-game swing against the Bay Area’s WCC teams by host­ing USF on Wed­nes­day night.

Steve Kroner is a San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle staff writer. Email: skro­[email protected] sfchron­i­cle.com Twit­ter: @SteveKronerSF

Ben Mar­got / As­so­ci­ated Press

St. Mary’s Ma­lik Fitts shoots over Cal’s Matt Bradley in the first half on his way to 19 points in a game in which the Gaels’ three-point­ers buried the Bears.

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