Washington State holds off No. 21 St. Mary’s
Saint Mary’s had no answer for Malachi Flynn.
The Washington State guard scored a game-high 26 points, and the Cougars held off a late Saint Mary’s rally to upset the No. 21 Gaels 84-79 on Friday in the semifinals of the Wooden Legacy tournament in Fullerton, Calif.
Saint Mary’s scored nine straight points to get within 80-77 with 48 seconds left, the Cougars made two layups in the final 18 seconds to seal the win.
The Cougars (5-0) advance to Sunday’s title game against Georgia or San Diego State.
Emmett Naar led the Gaels (5-1) with 17 points and seven assists. Jordan Ford scored 15 points, All-America candidate Jock Landale added 14 points and nine rebounds, and Calvin Hermanson had 14 points.
Robert Franks scored 15 for the Cougars.
Flynn, who made 9 of 14 shots in the game, scored eight points during a 13-3 Washington State run that gave the Cougars a 59-53 lead with 11:48 to go.
Washington State increased its lead to 15 on Flynn’s 3-pointer with 4:27 to go capped a 14-3 run.
Ford made a layup to cap a 10-2 Gaels run that put them on top 50-46 early in the second half.
Flynn hit a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left to give Washington State a 42-40 lead at halftime.
Naar had 12 points in the first half for the Gaels, who shot 53 percent.
Saint Mary’s led 16-10 after Cullen Neal’s 3-point jumper nine minutes into the game.
The Gaels stretch their lead to six two more times in the first half, but could not shake the Cougars.
Saint Mary’s will face the San Diego State-Georgia loser in Sunday’s third-place game.