College basketball rankings: Aidan Mahaney powers WCC-favorite Saint Mary’s over New Mexico

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Most of the top returning players in college basketball are bigs like Purdue’s Zach Edey, North Carolina’s Armando Bacot, Duke’s Kyle Filipowski, Kansas’ Hunter Dickinson and Creighton’s Ryan Kalkbrenner. But there are also some really good experienced guards playing for relevant programs this season, and one of the best was on display late Thursday.
His name is Aidan Mahaney.
The 6-foot-3 sophomore made five 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 25 points and four rebounds in Saint Mary’s 72-58 victory over New Mexico. He’s the centerpiece of a SMC roster that returns four of the top five scorers from last season’s team that shared the West Coast Conference regular-season title with Mark Few’s Gonzaga’s Bulldogs.
“We’re really talented and we’re really deep,” Mahaney said after the win over a shorthanded New Mexico team that was missing Jaelyn House, who averaged 16.9 points per game for the Lobos last season. “I feel like our continued growth is really important. I don’t think we’re anywhere close to how good we can be.”
The Gaels held New Mexico to 37.1% shooting from the field and forced 13 turnovers while never trailing for a single second. It was an impressive performance that has Saint Mary’s at 2-0 and looking like a real candidate to win an outright WCC title for the first time since 2012 — partly because Mahaney is one of the nation’s best guards, partly because Gonzaga just lost a projected starter (Steele Venters) to a season-ending knee injury. Either way, Saint Mary’s remains No. 21 in Friday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. The Gaels’ next game is Sunday against Weber State. After that, they’ll play San Diego State, which is 12th in the Top 25 And 1, next Friday in Las Vegas.
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Top 25 And 1 rankings

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