Following its 14th consecutive win on Tuesday, Saint Mary's basketball was dealt some tough news regarding one of its starters. Sophomore forward Joshua Jefferson, who has been sidelined since Feb. 10, will have knee surgery that will end his season, per Gaels head coach Randy Bennett.

Saint Mary's hasn’t missed a beat since Jefferson went down, winning both games without him. The Gaels have taken a “next man up” approach in his absence, with reserves stepping in to fill the void rather admirably.

“Losing Joshua, that hasn’t fazed us at all,” Gaels big man Mitchell Saxen said via Steve Kroner. “He’s a major part of our success and a great player for us, but it feels like Mason (Forbes) and Luke (Barrett) have stepped into that role, playing more minutes.”

Saxen led the way for Saint Mary's on Tuesday in a 70-66 win over San Francisco, posting 20 points and 13 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. The Gaels may have to rely on him more down the stretch without Jefferson in the mix.

After playing eight minutes per game as a freshman, Jefferson was inserted into the starting lineup this season and played well. He ends his sophomore campaign with averages of 10.2 points and 6.5 rebounds, shooting nearly 47 percent from the field in 25 minutes per game.

Saint Mary's is three wins away from a perfect conference record and a top seed in the West Coast Conference tournament. They could end the regular season as college basketball’s hottest team as they try to extend the nation's longest active winning streak.

The Gaels will have to do it without an impact player, but they seem poised to prove they belong on the big stage.