No. 17 Saint Mary's opens season by beating Nevada 81-63

Saint Mary's Joe Rahon, right, drives the ball against Nevada's D.J. Fenner during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, in Moraga, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
AP

MORAGA, Calif. (AP) Jock Landale carried the momentum of his strong preseason into a memorable first career start, scoring a career-high 33 points to go with nine rebounds, leading No. 17 Saint Mary's past Nevada 81-63 in the season opener for both schools Friday night.

Landale, a 6-foot-11 Australian center, shot 15 for 20 and has shown in a hurry how much better he can be with a larger role for 15th-year coach Randy Bennett. He was the backup to Dane Pineau last season, typically the first man off the bench, then arrived for fall camp in better shape and determined.

The Gaels shared the West Coast Conference regular-season title with Gonzaga last season but are determined to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013 after three straight years in the NIT.

Marcus Marshall had 25 points while D.J. Fenner scored six straight Nevada points late in the first half and finished with 12.