March 6, 2005
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Saint Mary's (25-7, 11-3 WCC) outscored Santa Clara (15-16, 7-7 WCC) 8-3 in the final 2:37 of the game to secure a 69-64 win over the Broncos in the semi-finals of the WCC Championships Sunday night at the Leavey Center on the campus of Santa Clara University. The Gaels advance to the finals where they will face No. 13 Gonzaga for the second straight season.
Saint Mary's was led by Paul Marigney with 20 points on 4-of-15 shooting, including 11-of-14 from the line. Daniel Kickert added 17 points, all of which came in the second half, and E.J. Rowland chipped in 13 for the Gaels.
Kyle Bailey led Santa Clara with 17 points on 7-of-19 shooting from the field. Travis Niesen recorded 13 points and 11 rebounds, despite the loss.
After getting down by as many as 10, Santa Clara tied the score at 61 thanks to a 10-0 run at the 2:37 mark on a Niesen follow-up dunk. Saint Mary's then hit six of its final eight free-throws to close out the game.
Saint Mary's took a 51-46 lead at the 8:05 mark thanks to an 11-0 run. During that span, Kickert scored 6 points and Brett Collins added 4 for the Gaels, including a fast-break dunk that pleased the Saint Mary's contingent.
Bailey scored 10 points in the first half on 4-of-9 shooting from the field, and the Santa Clara Broncos took a 32-29 lead into the locker room at the half.
SMC's Kickert, Frederic Adjiwanou, and Blake Sholberg all committed three personal fouls by the 8:31 mark in the first half and were forced to sit the remainder of the half. The three Saint Mary's big men were a combined 0-for-1 from the field for 0 points in the half.
Santa Clara used an early 9-0 run to take a 9-4 lead and later used a 7-0 run to extend its lead to 21-13 midway through the first half. Saint Mary's answered with a 10-0 run to take a 25-23 lead at the 3:05 mark.
Both teams struggled from the floor in the first half, as Santa Clara shot 30 percent from the field, including 28.6 percent from beyond the arc and Saint Mary's shot 25.9 percent from the floor and 7.7 percent from the 3-point line.
Saint Mary's will face No. 1 seed Gonzaga Monday night at 9:00 p.m. at the Leavey Center. The game will be televised live on ESPN.