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Saint Mary’s lands third straight solid win by beating North Dakota State

Nov 15, 2013, 2:02 AM EDT

Saint Mary's College takes on Brigham Young University in Moraga AP

Every year, we expect Saint Mary’s to finally drop off, to come back down to earth. I mean, there’s only so many times that a team can lose their star — their most important player, the guy that the entire team is built around — before the program eventually has to enter rebuilding mode.

It didn’t happen when Omar Samhan graduated. It didn’t happen when Mickey McConnell graduated. Will it happen now that Matthew Dellavedova has graduated?

At this point?

Well, no.

It doesn’t.

The Gaels picked up their third notable win early in the season as they knocked off North Dakota State 78-65 on Thursday night. That came on the heels of wins over Akron and Louisiana Tech. Now I know what you’re thinking: why should I be impressed with wins over North Dakota State, Akron and Louisiana Tech? Is the fact that they are a favorite to win the Summit, the MAC and Conference USA this season enough of a reason?

Big man Brad Waldow continued his terrific start to the year by going for 18 points, 10 boards, five assists and three blocks, while Stephen Holt — who entered the game averaging 16.0 points, 6.5 assists and 5.5 boards — went 1-for-7 from the field but notched eight boards and six assists.

The Gaels may not have done anything to capture national attention just yet, but picking up three wins that could all end up being RPI top 100 wins in the first week of the season is pretty impressive.