Saint Mary's 67, Middle Tennessee State 54

Jeff Wallner, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

DAYTON -- Matthew Dellavedova sank five 3-pointers and scored 22 points, and Stephen Holt added 18 points as Saint Mary's earned a 67-54 victory over Middle Tennessee State in a First Four game played Tuesday night at University of Dayton Arena.
The Gaels advance to face No. 6 seed Memphis in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday afternoon in Auburn Hills, Mich.
Beau Levesque scored 13 points for Saint Mary's (28-6).
Marcos Knight led Middle Tennessee (28-6) with 16 points. Kerry Hammond and Neiko Hunter each scored 10 for the Blue Raiders, who were making their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 24 years.
Dellavedova beat the shot clock with a 3-pointer to give Saint Mary's a 34-24 lead early in the second half, the Gaels' biggest advantage to that point. His fourth 3-pointer moments later put Saint Mary's ahead by 11.
Middle Tennessee went scoreless in the final 4:09 of the first half and trailed 29-20 at halftime, but a 7-0 midway through the second half helped the Blue Raiders climb back into the game.
A dunk by Shawn Jones was followed by Hammond's baseline 3-pointer, which trimmed Middle Tennessee's deficit to five. Knight's layup made the score 41-38 with 12:36 remaining.
But Saint Mary's answered. Dellavedova's fifth 3-pointer again put the Gaels ahead by 10 points with fewer than seven minutes left. Holt's 3-pointer made the score 57-44.
The game was sluggish and physical in the first half, but 3-point shooting kept the Gaels' offense afloat.
Saint Mary's made 4-of-7 3-point attempts in the first half, led by Dellavedova, who hit two 3-pointers, to give the Gaels an early lead.
Holt's 3-pointer gave the Gaels an 18-16 lead. Moments later, Levesque's three-point play gave Saint Mary's four-point lead.
A dunk by Brad Waldow off a lob from Dellavedova gave Saint Mary's a 26-20 lead.
Hunter scored eight first-half points to lead Middle Tennessee.
NOTES: Middle Tennessee owned the nation's second-best road record this season at 11-3. The Blue Raiders finished 1-3 at neutral sites and 16-0 at home. ... MTSU hadn't played in the NCAA Tournament since 1989, when it upset Florida State. ... Saint Mary's has reached the postseason seven times in the past nine seasons, including five appearances in the NCAA Tournament and two in the NIT. ... The Gaels are one of four programs to win at least 25 games each of the past six seasons, joining conference rival Gonzaga as well as Duke and Kansas. ... Three of the Gaels' six losses were to No. 1 seed Gonzaga.

What to Read Next