Dan Fotu scored 16 points on 6-for-10 shooting, and Saint Mary’s pulled away for a 62-50 win over Oregon on Tuesday night to advance to the championship game of the Maui Invitational in Las Vegas.
Saint Mary’s will tip off against Wisconsin on Wednesday for the tourney title. The Badgers advanced to the championship game by beating Houston 65-63 earlier Tuesday.
Tommy Kuhse scored 13 points for Saint Mary’s while making 6 of 8 shots from the field. Alex Ducas (12 points) and Logan Johnson (11) also finished in double figures.
Eric Williams Jr. scored 13 points to lead Oregon, which will face Houston on Wednesday in the third-place game. Franck Kepnang had nine points and Will Richardson finished with eight.
Saint Mary’s outscored Oregon 14-0 in fast-break points. The teams were even for points in the paint at 34-34.
The Gaels wasted little time turning an eight-point halftime lead into a double-digit advantage. On their first possession of the second half, Ducas buried a 3-pointer off an assist from Johnson to give Saint Mary’s a 26-15 lead.
Oregon answered with a jump shot by Kepnang to trim the deficit to 26-17, but Saint Mary’s then went on a 7-0 run to pull ahead 33-17 with 17:44 remaining. Kuhse hit a 3-pointer and a layup to start the run, which ended with a jump shot by Matthias Tass.
The Gaels remained ahead by 16 points when Oregon put together a 6-0 run to pull within 42-32 with 11:05 to go. N’Faly Dante had a dunk and a layup to help the Ducks slice the deficit to 10.
Saint Mary’s prevented the Ducks from making a more significant run. The Gaels regained a 14-point lead when Fotu converted a dunk to make it 58-44 with 5:06 remaining.
Saint Mary’s led 23-15 at the half.
Oregon combined to miss 20 of 27 shots before the break. The Ducks missed all four of their attempts from beyond the arc.
Saint Mary’s fared slightly better before the break, shooting 9 of 21 overall (42.9 percent) and 2 of 9 from 3-point range (22.2 percent).
–Field Level Media
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