LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jordan Ford hit a pull-up jumper with 1.4 seconds to go, giving Saint Mary’s a 51-50 win over No. 14 BYU in the West Coast Conference Tournament semifinals Monday night.
Saint Mary’s will face No. 2 Gonzaga for the championship on Tuesday. The Gaels upset Gonzaga in last year’s title game to earn the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Ford scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half for the third-seeded Gaels (25-7), looking to win their fifth WCC title.
Yoeli Childs had 23 points and 10 rebounds for second-seeded BYU (24-8), which had won nine straight games.
Saint Mary’s clamped down on defense in the second half. BYU went 9:13 without a basket and missed seven shots in a row during one stretch. The Gaels went on a 12-1 run and led 46-45 with 5:38 remaining.
But the Gaels had a 4:14 scoring drought of their own, which allowed the Cougars to keep it within one. Despite missing 13 of their last 15 shots, BYU took a 48-46 lead with 3:31 left on a three-point play from guard Zac Seljaas.
It was the Cougars’ first field goal since 12:44 remained in regulation.
Despite shooting 8 for 28 in the first half with no free throw attempts, Saint Mary’s trailed only 26-20 at the break. The Gaels were outrebounded 17-15 in the period but had five offensive rebounds.
Both teams hit four 3-pointers, but Saint Mary’s shot 4 of 15 inside the line in the first 20 minutes. The Cougars shot 50% percent (11 of 22) from the floor, led by Childs with eight points.
Saint Mary’s: A championship rematch with top-seeded Gonzaga.
BYU: Expecting an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.