Going into today, the St. Mary’s vs. Memphis game appeared to be one of the most evenly matched tilts of the NCAA Tournament’s Round of 64. The Memphis Tigers escaped with a 54-52 win over the Gaels, holding on despite a mad dash from St. Mary’s in the game’s final minute.
Memphis jumped out to a big first half lead, leading by as many as 15 points late in the half, closing out to for a 32-22 lead at the break.
In the second half, St. Mary’s rallied to cut the Tiger lead down to three points, but just couldn’t grab a lead. The Gaels shot just 32 percent from the field for much of the game and at one point were an abysmal two of 11 from three point range. With three seconds left and down five, Eividas Petrulis banked in a three-point leaner off the glass, which was immediately followed by Memphis turning it over on the ensuing inbound pass.
The last gasp for the Gaels was a missed Matthew Dellavedova shot from the base line that went just long, sealing the win for Memphis.
For Memphis, sound defensive play in the paint led to the victory, as the Tigers combined for 11 blocks. Six-foot-five swingman D.J. Stephens had a career high seven blocks for Memphis, and guard Joe Jackson led the way on the glass with six boards.
With the win, Memphis will now face Michigan State on Saturday, for a berth in the Sweet Sixteen. The Spartans beat Valparaiso in the day’s first tournament game.