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MORAGA — Freshman Aidan Mahaney scored 20 points and Randy Bennett inched closer to 500 coaching victories as Saint Mary’s beat rival Santa Clara 77-58 in West Coast Conference play on Saturday night.

The Gaels (18-4, 7-0) won their ninth straight game to remain alone atop the WCC standings. The win was the 12th in 13 games for Saint Mary’s, which began the day at No. 7 in the NCAAs NET computer rankings.

Ranked No. 24 this week in the national coaches poll, the Gaels seem nearly certain to climb into the AP Top-25 after sitting at No. 27 in those rankings.

Bennett now has 498 career victories at Saint Mary’s, with the Gaels scheduled to return to the court at BYU in next Saturday.

Mahaney made four 3-pointers and reached the 20-point plateau for the sixth time this season and the third time in the past four games. Center center Mitchell Saxen scored 14 points while seniors Alex Ducas and Logan Johnson each contributed 13.

Santa Clara (16-5, 4-3) had 14 turnovers, not an extraordinary total, but the Gaels took advantage by converting them into a stunning 24-4 advantage in points off turnovers. Saint Mary’s led by as many as 28 points.

Carlos Stewart and Keshawn Justice scored 17 and 12 points, respectively, for the Broncos.

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