The Gaels maintained control in the game by setting the tempo and being efficient on offense. Saint Mary's committed a season low seven turnovers against a Middle Tennessee team that prides itself on its defense.
The game started out back and forth, and Middle Tennessee held a two point lead with 9:59 remaining in the first half, but the Gaels' defense did not give up another field goal until after halftime. St. Mary's ended the first half on a 15-4 run.
Although the Blue Raiders put together a 10-2 run early in the second half, the Gaels remained solid and even extended their lead to as much as 14 points with 1:13 remaining in the game.
Matthew Dellavedova led the Gaels with 22 points, six rebounds and four assists. He was 7-14 shooting and 5-7 from behind the arc. Stephen Holt contributed 18 points, and Beau Levesque added 13 points.
Marcos Knight led the Blue Raiders with 16 points, six assists and six rebounds. Neiko Hunter and Kerry Hammonds both added 10 points.
The win gives the Gaels their 16th win in their last 19 games, all three losses coming against No. 1 seed Gonzaga. The loss against St. Mary’s was Middle Tennessee’s second consecutive loss following a 17-game win streak.
St. Mary's will face No. 6 seed Memphis in the second round on Thursday at 2:45 p.m. (ET).
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