Santa Clara Falls to Saint Mary's in Heartbreaker, 63-62
Jan. 9, 2009
MORAGA, Calif.- Patty Mills hit a long 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds remaining and finished with a season-high 31 points and cold-shooting Saint Mary's held off Santa Clara in a thrilling final minute for a 63-62 win.
Kevin Foster hit a go-ahead 3 for Santa Clara with 12 seconds left on the way to a career-best 31 points before Mills came up big on the other end in a wild ending that featured three lead changes in the last 42.3 seconds.
Mills missed a pair of free throws with 47.5 seconds left after an intentional foul, then made two at 42.3 seconds before Foster's fifth 3 of the night. Foster shot 11-for-19 and also had three steals.
Mills made a tying 3 with 3:04 left and also had four steals. Omar Samhan grabbed 15 rebounds and had two of his four blocked shots on one second-half possession for the Gaels, who overcame a terrible night of perimeter shooting with strong defense on Santa Clara's 6-foot-11, 275-pound John Bryant. He was held to eight points but had nine rebounds and five blocked shots for the Broncos.
Diamon Simpson pulled down 11 boards to go with nine points for Saint Mary's. The Gaels shot 33 percent and went 5-for-25 from 3-point range but held a 44-37 rebounding edge to earn their third straight victory in the series after taking both meetings last season.
The game featured three of the top-20 rebounders in the country-Bryant at fourth, Simpson seventh and Samhan 20th.
Mills missed seven of his first 10 shots, including five of seven 3s, and Saint Mary's started 3-for-16 from 3-point range. The Gaels trailed 29-26 at the break for their second-lowest scoring first half this season.
Santa Clara, which committed seven turnovers in the opening 12 minutes, missed its first nine 3-point tries before Foster connected at the 15:15 mark of the second half.