Reigning WCC regular season champs Saint Mary's got all they wanted from the Univeristy of San Francisco, but the ranked Gaels emerged victorious in the first semifinal game of the West Coast Conference Tournament. Saint Mary's took down the Dons of San Francisco with a final score of 83-78.
Saint Mary's, led by WCC player of the year Matthew Dellavedova, outlasted the Dons, who were playing their third game in as many nights. Dellavadova paced the Gaels with seven assists and 13 points.
As much damage as Dellavedova did, however, he was outshined by senior guard Clint Steindl, who had a team-high 19 points. Steindl hit six three-pointers, and proved to be deadly when given an open look behind the arc. Saint Mary's will now move on to face the winner of BYU and Gonzaga in the WCC tournament championship game on Monday night, March 5.
San Francisco played hard for 40 minutes, but just didn't have enough in the tank to take down the No. 1 seed, who seemed to get stronger as the game wore on. The Gaels took their first lead of the game with about 12 minutes to play and never gave it back.
All-WCC USF forward Angelo Caloiaro limped to the locker room with just one point when the final buzzer sounded, while sophomore guard Cody Doolin finished with a career-high 28.
San Francisco never trailed in the first half. The Dons jogged into the locker room with a bounce in their step and a 38-34 lead, thanks to some hot shooting and open looks behind the arc. Doolin scored eight of USF's final 10 in the half. They couldn't maintain the same level of energy in half number two, though, allowing Saint Mary's to shoot better than 65% in the second 20.
Even the Dons' head coach, Rex Walters, seemed to have a lapse when he was whistled for a technical foul in the second half for taunting the officials, a sequence that seemed to be indicative of the collective state of the fatigued Dons.
Saint Mary's will now have a day off before taking the court again on Monday night. The Gaels' win is good news for NCAA tournament bubble teams around the country.