Down by five with only a few seconds remaining, Matthew Dellavedova and St. Mary’s nearly pulled off an NCAA tournament upset for the ages.
Instead, the senior star’s last-second shot sailed long, and sixth-seededMemphis moved on to the next round.
Dellavedova’s 3-pointer from the right wing missed everything as time expired, allowing Memphis to hold on for a 54-52 win over 11th-seeded Saint Mary’s on Thursday.
The Tigers led by 15 in the first half but nearly gave the game away in the final seconds.
With Memphis (31-4) ahead 54-49, Eividas Petrulis banked in a 3-pointer with 3.1 seconds to play. The Tigers then lost the ball when the Gaels’ Jordan Giusti deflected the inbound pass off Joe Jackson of the Tigers and out of bounds.
Saint Mary’s (28-7) was out of timeouts but had a chance to regroup while officials reviewed the previous sequence. It didn’t matter. Dellavedova, the career leader in scoring for Saint Mary’s, was able to get a shot off, but it didn’t come close to going in.
It was the first win in the NCAA tournament for Memphis since 2009, when John Calipari was still coach. The Tigers face third-seeded Michigan State on Saturday at 1:45 p.m. on News Channel 3.
D.J. Stephens had nine points and eight blocks for Memphis, and Jackson had 14 points and seven assists. Brad Waldow scored 17 points to lead Saint Mary’s. Dellavedova had 10 points, seven assists and six turnovers in 40 minutes.