Wednesday, March 20, 2013
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
Matthew Dellavedova recorded a game-high 22 points, including five 3-pointers, as the Gaels outlasted the Blue Raiders in the first round of the Midwest Regional at Dayton, Ohio.
Stephen Holt added 18 points for Saint Mary's (28-6), which plays sixth-seeded Memphis in Thursday's second round at Auburn Hills, Mich. Beau Levesque chipped in with 13 for the Gaels, who matched a season low with seven turnovers.
Marcos Knight led the way with 16 points and six assists for Middle Tennessee (28-6), which was making its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1989. Kerry Hammonds and Neiko Hunter added 10 points for the Blue Raiders.
Saint Mary's trailed by three midway through the first half before scoring 16 of the final 20 points to earn a 29-20 lead at intermission. Dellavedova poured in 12 points and the Gaels held Middle Tennessee to one field goal in the last 9:58 before halftime.
Middle Tennessee came out with more energy in the second half and Hammonds drained a pair of 3-pointers to help close the gap to 41-38 with 12:39 to go. Levesque made two free throws and Holt scored after a steal to push the lead back to seven and the Gaels, making their second straight trip to the NCAAs for the first time, would not let the Blue Raiders closer than five the rest of the way.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Saint Mary's G Jorden Page, averaging 6.4 points, missed the game with a knee injury suffered in the West Coast Conference title game against Gonzaga. Jordan Giusti replaced him in the starting lineup and did not score. ... Dellavedova broke Saint Mary's single-season record for assists with 216, passing Nick Pappageorge's previous mark of 213 in 1976-77. ... Middle Tennessee has won 55 games in the last two seasons.