It was a slow start in Dayton Ohio tonight as both the Gaels and Blue Raiders were scoreless two minutes into the first half. The teams battled back and forth with neither team being able to take charge of the game. The Gaels went down 16-15 with 8:22 in the first half off of a seven straight possession missing steak. Then the Gaels came alive. They outscored the Blue Raiders 13-5 for the rest of the half and went to the locker room up 29-20.
Statistically for the half the Gaels struggled from the floor putting up 9-25 (36.0%) and were 4-7 (57.1%) from three point land. From the free throw line the Gaels were 7-11 (63.6%).
Leading the way was senior point guard and St. Mary’s all-time leading scorer in school history Matthew Dellavedova with 12. Beau Levesque had seven from off the bench. An honorable mention goes to Jordan Giusti who made his first ever start tonight for the injured Jordan Page.
For the Blue Raiders, they went 8-25 (32.0%) from the floor and 2-8 (25.0%) from threes. They were a perfect 2-2 from the free throw line. Leading the scoring was Neiko Hunter who put up eight from the bench. Bruce Massey was next with five.
In the second half, Middle Tennessee gave St. Marty’s a scare going on a quick 10-2 run bringing the score within three 41-38 with 12:00 minutes to go in the game. From that point on it was all Gaels. The Gaels took control of the pace, the points, the defense, and the game and held onto a double digit lead for the rest of the game.
Game wise the Gaels finished the night 21-46 (47.7%) from the floor and were 8-14 (57.1%) from behind the arc. The Gaels struggled again from the line going 17-25 (68.0%).
Leading the way all night was Matthew Dellavedova with 22. Stephen Holt had a solid performance with 18. Beau Levesque ended the game with 13. Jordan Giusti must be mentioned for another impressive defensive performance tonight.
The Blue Raiders ended the night with 22-52 (42.3%) from the floor and 4-12 (33.3%) from behind the arc. They were 6-7 (85.7%) from the line.
Leading the night for Middle Tennessee was Marcos Knight with 16. Both Kerry Hammonds and Neiko Hunter ended with 10.
The Gaels officially join the NCAA tourney and head to Michigan to face #6 Memphis on Thursday. It still needs to be noted that the Gaels should have made the tourney on their own at 27-6. Perhaps the NCAA will finally give the WCC conference a little more credit and realize the true strength behind the teams.
In other WCC action, BYU beat Washington in the Nit’s 90-79.