Washington State knocks off No. 21 Saint Mary’s 84-79
Malachi Flynn scored 26 points and Washington State held off No. 21 Saint Mary’s 84-79 to reach the title game of the Wooden Legacy on Friday.
In the opening round, Flynn hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 5 seconds remaining to seal a 75-71 win against Saint Joseph’s after the Cougars rallied from 20 points down.
This time, the Cougars were the ones putting the Gaels (5-1) in a 16-point hole, and they stayed cool when Saint Mary’s got within three on a 3-pointer by Jordan Ford with 47 seconds left.
Robert Franks and Jeff Pollard made layups to preserve the win for the Cougars (5-0), who shot 62 percent in the second half.
Saint Mary’s opened the second half on a 10-4 spurt before Flynn’s basket tied it at 50-all. He followed with a 3-pointer that gave the Cougars the lead for good.
The Gaels got to 65-61 on a basket by Jock Landale before the Cougars went on a 13-1 run. Kwinton Hinson had five points and Flynn added eight to extend Washington State’s lead to 78-62.
Saint Mary’s rallied on back-to-back 3-pointers by Calvin Hermanson that cut its deficit to 10. Evan Fitzner’s layup got the Gaels within six, leaving them to foul in the final minute.
Emmett Naar scored 17 points for Saint Mary’s, which will play in the third-place game on Sunday. Fellow Aussie Landale added 14 points and nine rebounds while playing with three fouls. Ford finished with 15 points and Hermanson had 14.
Saint Mary’s never led by more than six and had three players in foul trouble as the Gaels’ five-game winning streak ended.
Washington State has been living on the edge, digging itself big holes in the first half of games only to rally in the second half. But the Cougars grew up in less than 24 hours. They led Saint Mary’s by 2 at halftime and played with poise down the stretch.
Saint Mary’s: Advances to the third-place game Sunday.
Washington State: Moves on to the championship game Sunday.