St. Mary’s (11-2) out of the West Coast Conference scored 42 points in the paint and got 17 points apiece from Brad Waldow and Matthew Dellavedova to turn back Missouri State, 77-61, here in the final round of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic late Friday.
The Bears (7-5) were led by Caleb Patterson with 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting, while Jarmar Gulley scored 14, and Kyle Weems added 11 points and a team-high 7 rebounds. MSU dropped its second straight game to wrap its non-conference schedule.
After trailing 33-29 at the half, MSU got a quick layup from Gulley to start the second half to cut the MSU deficit to two. A pair of free throws from Stephen Holt pushed the Gaels’ lead back to four, but a pair of foul shots by Anthony Downing, and a trey by Weems gave the Bears a 36-35 advantage with 18:23 left in the game.
That brief lead would be MSU’s first and only advantage of the contest, as SMC reeled off nine straight points over the span of the next two minutes to pull ahead for good. The Bears would climb back within six points of the lead on six occasions later in the half, including a late run led by a Patterson hook shot with 6:54 to go. But with every MSU run, the Gaels had an answer, and a dunk by Waldow with just under six-and-a-half minutes remaining sealed the deal.
The Bears finished 24-for-54 (.444) from the field, but just 3-of-13 (.231) from long range. MSU was 10-of-11 (.909) at the line and committed just eight turnovers, but were out-rebounded by a 40-32 margin, surrendering 17 second-chance points.
St. Mary’s shot 30-of-66 (.455) from the field and 7-of-22 (.318) from bonus distance, while converting just 10-of-15 (.667) foul shots. Rob Jones had a game-high 10 boards for SMC, while Holt and Jorden Page contributed 16 and 10 points, respectively.
In the first half, Patterson scored 14 points to lead all scorers, but Waldow scored the Gaels’ first eight points to help them take command from the start. Gulley brought MSU back with a pair of mid-range jumpers to make it 10-6 a minute later, but an unconventional three-point jump shot by Dellavedova and a bullying run to the rack by Kenton Walker pushed St. Mary’s ahead 15-6.
The Bears reeled off the game’s next seven points to draw within 15-13 after a drive by Corey Copeland, a three-pointer by Patterson and a quick bucket in transition by Patterson made it a two-point game at the 10:39 mark.
St. Mary’s again gambled big with the long-range shot and knocked down a pair of treys over the next two minutes to broaden the gap to 21-13.
The Gaels later opened up a 27-17 advantage with 5:54 to go in the opening stanza before a tough-angle jumper by Patterson showed signs of life for MSU, and a traditional three-point play by Christian Kirk at the 4:14 mark kept it rolling. Weems then made it closer with a fade-away jumper to make it 27-24 at the 2:55 mark.
St. Mary’s would score three of the next four field goals to retake a seven-point lead, and a Patterson three-pointer just before the intermission made it a 33-29 contest at the break.
MSU’s bench managed just 18 points on the night, but Downing scored eight, and Tomie Aromona contributed three along with Kirk.
Missouri State will begin Missouri Valley Conference play on Dec. 28 at No. 21 Creighton (10-1) in a game that will be televised live on FOX Sports Midwest.