This is the game the Gaels have been waiting for. This is their chance to prove themselves to both the NCAA and the country that they are truly a powerful force in the world of college basketball. Tomorrow is sure to be a great game as both teams have solid offenses and defenses. St. Mary’s has been working on defense all year. If they can keep up their solid defense tomorrow, they become incredibly tough to beat.
The Gaels are now 28-6 overall and finished in second place 14-2 in the West Coast Conference. Most impressive has been the Gael defense who allowed Middle Tennessee just 54 points in the play-in game Tuesday night. Offensively The Gaels rank 23rd in the country averaging 75.5 points a game. Additionally, the Gaels shooting percentage has been strong all year. They average 47.4% from the floor and this ranks them 22nd. The Gaels have also been strong behind the arc. Leading the way has been Matthew Dellavedova. He put up 22 points against Middle Tennessee and averages 15.8 points per game. Dellavedova also is St. Mary’s all-time leading scorer. Look for Dellavadova from three point land for another solid performance. Also in double digits is Stephen Holt averaging 11.8. Off the bench, Beau Levesque has been a strong force all season averaging 10.8. Jordan Giuist, a walk-on freshman, got his first start on Tuesday and had a solid defensive performance. Look for Giusti to lead the charge in stopping the offensive drive of Memphis as he again looks to start for the injured Jordan Page.
The Tigers finished their season 30-4. They were a perfect 16-0 in conference USA. The Tigers slightly outscore the Gaels with a 75.9 game average ranking them 21st in the nation. The Tigers edge the Gaels in shooting percentage with a 47.9% average which puts them 21st.
Since both teams compare almost even in points and shooting, defense becomes the key factor for tomorrow’s game.
Leading the way for the Tigers is Joe Jackson who is averaging 13.6 Points per game. The Tigers have three other players in double digits: Adonis Thomas with 11.9, Chris Crawford with 10.7, and Geron Johnson with 10.5.
The Tigers have lost only one game of their last 25. This was on Feb 26th against Xavier. They lost 64-62.
The NCAA round two tournament action game begins at 11:45 am Thursday and can be seen on CBS.