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Matthew Dellavedova will guide the Gaels to their fourth-straight WCC Tournament final.
Matthew Dellavedova will guide the Gaels to their fourth-straight WCC Tournament final.
MBK | Gaels Headed To WCC Final... Again!
Release: Tuesday 03/03/2012 
by SMC Athletics

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Clint Steindl scored 19 points, including six 3-pointers, and top-seeded Saint Mary's defeated San Francisco 83-78 Saturday to earn a spot in the West Coast Conference tournament final for the fourth straight year.

Saint Mary's (26-5) faces the winner of Gonzaga-Brigham Young in Monday's championship. The Gaels swept BYU during the regular season by a combined 30 points and split with Gonzaga, including a 14-point road loss on Feb. 9.

Saturday's win was the Gaels' 14th straight over the Dons.

Cody Doolin led San Francisco (20-13) with a career-high 28 points.

Saint Mary's trailed the entire first half and didn't take its first lead until 12:12 left to play, when WCC player of the year Matthew Dellavedova fed Brad Waldow for a layup and a 53-51 Gaels lead.

Michael Williams' 3-pointer with 6 seconds left pulled the Dons within 81-78, but Saint Mary's held on for the win.

Dellavedova had only five points in the first half but came on strong in the second. He finished with 17 and sealed the win with a pair of late free throws. He was 10 of 10 from the line and also handed out six assists.

Doolin had 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the first half as San Francisco took a 38-34 lead into the break. The Dons led by five points early in the second half before the Gaels came back.

The score was tied at 53 after a pair of free throws by Doolin before Saint Mary's went on a 17-7 run, fueled by back-to-back 3-pointers by Steindl and Jorden Page.

The Dons fought back behind Perris Blackwell (8 of 10 for 19 points), Doolin (10 of 16) and Rashad Green (12 points).

Blackwell's put-back pulled San Francisco within 77-73 with 38 seconds left, but Rob Jones intercepted a pass on the Dons' next possession, and Dellavedova went to the line and sank both free throws.

After Williams' 3-pointer with 6 seconds left, Dellavedova sank two more foul shots for the final margin.

Waldow finished with 12 points, while Jones had a double-double for Saint Mary's with 11 points and 13 rebounds.

While the Gaels were well rested, having received a double bye to the semifinals, San Francisco was playing its third game in three days.

The Dons beat Loyola Marymount 67-60 on Friday in a game that went down to the wire and ran past Portland 87-66 on Thursday.

San Francisco started strong Saturday, shooting 60 percent from the field and hitting 5 of 11 3-pointers en route to a 38-34 halftime lead.

But the Gaels had too much in the end. Saint Mary's held an 11-2 edge in second-chance points and outscored the Dons 49-40 in the second half.

Both teams shot better than 50 percent. The difference was 3-pointers - the Gaels hit 11 of 26, compared to 8 of 20 for San Francisco - and rebounding, where Saint Mary's held a 30-21 edge.