AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Matthew Dellavedova caught the ball and took one more 3-pointer.
It was about as good a scenario as St. Mary’s could have hoped for, especially since the Gaels were trailing by five moments earlier. But Dellavedova, the school’s career leader in scoring, missed long as time expired.
“As soon as Delli got the ball in the corner, we all thought it was going to go in,” St. Mary’s forward Brad Waldow said. “We knew it was going to go in, but it just didn’t fall. That’s it.”
Dellavedova and St. Mary’s nearly pulled off an NCAA Tournament upset Thursday, but sixth-seeded Memphis held on for a 54-52 win over the 11th-seeded Gaels. 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 Memphis and out of bounds. St. 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 was able to get a shot off, but it missed everything.
Waldow scored 17 points to lead St. Mary’s. Dellavedova had 10 points, seven assists and six turnovers in 40 minutes.