At the. 16 Saint Mary’s hold off BYU to reach WCC title game

WCC BYU Saint Marys Basketball 62473

LAS VEGAS – Alex Ducas scored 23 points to lead four Saint Mary’s players in double digits, and No. 16 Gaels held off a late BYU rally to a 76-69 Monday night win in the West Coast Conference Semifinals.

The Gaels (26-6) will play for their fourth WCC title in five years on Tuesday night, taking on No. 9 Gonzaga or San Francisco. Saint Mary’s will be looking to win their first championship since 2019.

BYU (19-15) will wait to see if the NIT has an opening. The Cougars have a NET rating of No. 85, so they are at best on the bubble. If they don’t make the postseason, this will be their last game as a WCC team; the program joins the Big 12 Conference next season.

Aidan Mahaney scored 18 points, Mitchell Saxen had 12 and Logan Johnson 10 for Saint Mary’s.

Spencer Johnson led BYU with 13 points, Richie Saunders scored 11 and Rudi Williams added 10.

It was BYU’s first loss on a neutral court this season after going 7-0, including 3-0 in Las Vegas. The Cougars won the then-No. 21 Creighton in November and won their first two games of this tournament.

Both of the regular season games between Saint Mary’s and BYU were close, with the Gaels winning by a combined seven points.

The third meeting felt like an early escape. Saint Mary’s surged 11-1 to go up 20-8 and ended the first half with a five-point possession courtesy of a technical set piece to go into halftime ahead 37-20.

BYU also entered a cold spell, going scoreless between a Jaxson Robinson field goal with 4:54 left in the first half to Spencer Johnson’s layup 11 seconds into the second period.

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