Johnson lifts San Diego over St. Mary’s in double-overtime, 75-69

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SAN DIEGO (AP)—Brandon Johnson scored a career-high 28 points, including six in the second overtime, and Gyno Pomare added 22 to lead San Diego to a 75-69 victory over Saint Mary’s in the West Coast Conference tournament semifinals Sunday night.

San Diego (20-13) rallied from a 17-point first-half deficit and a double-digit margin most of the second half to advance into Monday night’s championship against 22nd-ranked and top-seeded Gonzaga. The Toreros, who took their first lead of the game in the first overtime, will play in the championship for the first time since 2003 when they upset Gonzaga.

Pomare put San Diego ahead 57-55 on a tip 55 seconds into the second overtime. Johnson followed with a 3-pointer for a 60-55 lead with 2:51 left. With the Gaels behind and forced to foul, San Diego made 13 of 20 foul shots in the second overtime.

Diamon Simpson and Tron Smith each scored 17 points for Saint Mary’s, which blew a 13-point lead in the final 7:25 of regulation.

Saint Mary’s (25-6) dominated the game’s first 33 minutes before San Diego went on a 15-2 run to close out regulation. The Toreros finally tied the score at 52-all on a pair of free throws by freshman Rob Jones with 56.2 seconds left. Each team missed one shot, sending the game into overtime.

Jones gave San Diego its first lead of the night at 53-52 on a free throw with 3:46 left in the first overtime. Diamon Simpson scored on a rebound with 1:11 to pull the Gaels even at 55-all. Neither team scored again in the first OT period.

At the start of the game, the Gaels jumped to 16-2 lead and were ahead 24-8 with 11:44 left in the first half. The Gaels led 36-23 at the intermission.

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