NCAA Tournament 2013: Memphis escapes St. Mary’s despite rocky final minute

March 21, 2013

Joe Jackson and Memphis survived a rocky final minute against St. Mary’s. (Getty Images)

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.

 

More NCAA tournament coverage

Butler survives late surge, improves to 12-4 under Stevens in the tournament

Miami’s Shane Larkin is thinking about NCAA tournament, not NBA

JMU’s Brady thriving despite uncertain future | Brady’s rap

Viewer’s guide to Thursday’s games

Interactive bracket and NCAA tournament history database

The Bracket Challenge contest (Round-by-round)

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Rick Maese | March 21, 2013