BOISE, Idaho (AP) Saint Mary's passed its stiffest test of the season and the reward is remaining one of the nation's 14 unbeaten Division I teams.
Stephen Holt scored a season-high 24 points to lead the Gaels (8-0) to a hard-fought 82-74 victory over Boise State Saturday. The victory allows Saint Mary's to match the second-best season-opening winning streak in program history.
James Walker III added 14 points and Brad Waldow contributed 11 rebounds to go with 11 points for the Gaels. Beau Levesque with 13 points and Kerry Carter with 12 also scored in double digits.
Derrick Marks led Boise State with 22 points and Jeff Elorriaga added 20, making all six of the Broncos' 3-pointers. Ryan Watkins added 14 points for Boise State (8-2), which lost its second consecutive game.
Saint Mary's used a 7-0 run capped by Carter's 3-pointer to take a 70-61 lead with 6:51 left in the game. Boise State tallied the next eight before Anthony Drmic missed a tying free-throw with 1:46 remaining. Levesque then connected on a 3-pointer with 1:21 left and the Gaels protected the lead by hitting nine of 10 free throws.
Saint Mary's had feasted on a light slate prior to facing the Broncos, who had won 26 consecutive nonconference home games prior to Saturday's loss. The Gaels went 12-of-23 from 3-point range and put the clamps on Drmic, holding Boise State's leading scorer to a season-worst six points on 2-of-6 shooting.
The Broncos won their first eight games of the season before losing at Kentucky on Tuesday and they quickly dug themselves a hole against the Gaels, who made 14 of 20 shots over the first 14-plus minutes.
Saint Mary's was 6 of 7 from 3-point range over the first nine-plus minutes to take a 29-16 lead. The advantage topped out at 36-20 after two free throws by Carter with 8:19 to play.
Elorriaga hit three 3-pointers during an 18-5 run to help the Broncos move within three points with 2:28 left.
The Gaels led 46-44 at the break. Boise State took its first lead of the game on Igor Hadziomerovic's layup 71 seconds into the second half.
A dunk by Watkins gave Boise State a 50-48 lead with just over 18 minutes remaining before Saint Mary's scored 10 straight points and 14 of the next 16 to take a 10-point lead with 11:52 left.
The Broncos battled back within 63-61 on two free throws by Marks with 8:39 left before Holt and Walker drove for baskets and Carter drained a 3-pointer to boost the lead back to nine with 6:51 remaining.