This afternoon the Saint Mary’s Gaels headed to the upper Midwest to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers in round two of the National Invitation Tournament. Facing the No. 1 seed in their bracket the Gaels hoped to advance to the quarterfinals. In a wild game of blown leads and cold streaks on both sides, the Gaels could not close out the victory and suffered a very disappointing loss, 63-55 at Williams Arena in Minneapolis.
Brad Waldow got the first points scoring off a layup. This was the start of a 14-0 St. Mary’s run to start the game.
Minnesota finally broke through the intense Gael defense and hit two points. This started a Minnesota 6-0 run of their own.
The Gaels hit their own icy streak, going scoreless for almost six minutes. By the media timeout at 7:47 in the first half, the Gaels were up 16-6.
Before the Gaels knew what hit them, Minnesota was right back in the game, down 16-13 with 6:16 to go in the half.
With 3:39 to play, the game was tied 19-19. St. Mary’s had been outscored 19-5. The Gaels had not hit a basket from the floor for almost nine minutes.
At the half the Gaels, maintained a slight lead 26-22.
In the second half Saint Mary’s opened 0-for-6 in the first three minutes. They got their first score at 16:19 and were up 28-25. In a back and forth second half battle the teams both struggled to pull ahead.
With 10:33 to play Minnesota was up 35-32. Minnesota started to turn on the heat and off a 12-0 run moved up 41-32 with 8:29 in the game. The Gaels fought hard and cut into the Minnesota lead and closed the gap to 43-39 with 6:20 to play.
With 1:21 to play the Gaels were down 56-50 off of two missed free throws. The Gaels did not press and delayed fouling. At 1:08 the full pressure was on and it was foul time for the Gaels. It would not pay off this afternoon as the Gaels went out in the second round ending their season.
The Gaels finished their season shooting 16-for-42 (38.1 percent) from the floor. They went 7-for-14 (50.0 percent) from behind the arc. Their weak link was at the free throw line, where they went 16-for-25 (64.0 percent) Stephen Holt led the way with 24 points and was the only player in double digits for the Gaels. James Walker III had nine.
For the Golden Gophers, they went 17-for-40 (42.5 percent) from the floor. They were 8-for-20 (40.0 percent) from 3-point land. Joey King led the scoring with 18.