MORAGA (AP) — Mickey McConnell had 26 points and five assists, Rob Jones added 22 points and eight rebounds, and Saint Mary’s remained unbeaten at home in McKeon Pavilion with a hard-fought 79-71 victory over Pepperdine on Thursday night.

Keion Bell scored eight straight during one second-half stretch on the way to 24 points to lead Pepperdine (9-16, 3-5 West Coast), and Lorne Jackson scored 16 points before fouling out in the final minute. Waves leading scorer Mychel Thompson had 11 points and eight rebounds but shot 3 for 10.

The West Coast Conference-leading Gaels (19-4, 7-1) shot 46.2 percent to Pepperdine’s 55.1 but kicked off the second half of the conference season by improving to 12-0 on their home floor. Saint Mary’s, which made an improbable run to the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament last March, is trying to end Gonzaga’s streak of 10 straight WCC regular-season titles.

(© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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