After its convincing performance in Tuesday’s play-in victory over Middle Tennessee, 11th-seeded St. Mary’s became a trendy upset pick in Thursday’s matchup with sixth-seeded Memphis.
The Tigers ultimately advanced with a 54-52 victory over the Gaels but not before Matthew Dellavedova had a chance to win the game on what would have been the tournament’s first buzzer beater. Here’s the non-embeddable video of that final play.
Instead, Josh Pastner’s squad survived a troubling final-minute display that reminded so many why they didn’t trust a team that won 30 games, including all of their Conference USA contests.
Leading 51-44 with 52 seconds to play, Memphis sent Tarik Black to the free throw line with a chance to bury St. Mary’s. Black missed the front end of a one-and-one, and the Gaels nearly forced one of the more epic meltdowns in recent tournament history.
Memphis went three of six from the free throw line in the final 38 seconds and committed two turnovers. The second off an in-bounds pass on the sideline came after Eividas Petrulis banked in a three-pointer with five seconds left and allowed St. Mary’s the chance to win the game in regulation.
The Tigers couldn’t relax until Dellavedova’s contested three from the corner sailed long. It was Pastner’s first career NCAA Tournament victory in his fourth season and third tournament appearance. The team will advance to Saturday’s second round against Michigan State, taking along memories of exactly what not to do late in a tight tournament game.
Memphis is well, Memphis — Great career for Delly- he will be missed -
— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) March 21, 2013