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WCC Tournament Recap: USF and Saint Mary’s Advance

Things got close for the Gaels, however.

NCAA Basketball: St. Mary’s at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday’s WCC Tournament quarterfinals saw the near-exit of the Saint Mary’s Gaels and the actual exist of the Pacific Tigers in two separate games.

In the first game of the evening, WCC Coach of the Year Damon Stoudamire’s No. 4 Pacific Tigers’ season came to a close as the No. 5 San Francisco Dons’ offense kept on churning, 72-54.

The Dons shot 54 percent from the floor, led by Charles Minlend’s 21 points. Jimbo Lull added 16 points. The Dons had 15 assists on the game compared to just five for the Tigers. Just looking at the box score for the Tigers, it is pretty easy to understand why and how they lost. The Dons dared anyone not named Jahlil Tripp to score, and that gamble paid off.

Tripp had a night, finishing with 29 points and 13 rebounds, playing all but one minute and making it to the free throw line for 13 shots. That sort of line does not matter if your next highest scorer only adds 12, and the third-highest contributes five. The Tigers shot a woeful 30.6 percent from the floor and just 4-of-18 from three-point range. With that, their season and the collegiate career or of Tripp came to a close.

In the evening game, the Saint Mary’s Gaels needed every single second of Jordan Ford’s existence to outlast the Pepperdine Waves in double-overtime, winning 89-82.

This game, if you tuned in, featured some phenomenal efforts from players on both teams. Ford was sensational, playing every single minute and scoring a career-high 42 points. It is safe to say right here that if Ford does not have this game tonight, the Gaels don’t win.

That is because Colbey Ross was just as good, if not a bit better. Ross, who only managed to play 47 minutes, finished with 43 points. Kessler Edwards, also a 50 minute player, chipped in 21 points. The Waves went with what was working. The rest of the team scored just 18 points.

Saint Mary’s held a rather comfortable lead for much of the game, taking a nine point lead into halftime. With eight minutes left and the Gaels up by 11, it seemed like that would be it. Ross and Edwards combined for a 10-0 run in three minutes, and all of a sudden, it was a completely different game. Ross iced a pair of free throws with seven seconds left in the game to force the first overtime.

As is the case often times in college basketball, the overtimes were a bit tired, which played well for Ford. He scored the final five points for the Gaels to lift them past the Waves and into the semifinals.

The good news for Saint Mary’s is that thanks to BYU’s religious beliefs, the Gaels get an extra day of rest instead of trying to turn that around 24 hours later.

Here is the schedule for the games tomorrow:

  • No. 5 San Francisco Dons vs. No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs, 6:00 pm PT, ESPN
  • No. 3 Saint Mary’s Gaels vs. No. 2 BYU Cougars, 8:30 pm PT, ESPN2