Saint Mary’s and Xavier, both 2-2 and coming off consecutive losses, will meet in the Continental Tires Main Event consolation game Sunday at Las Vegas.
Saint Mary’s is coming off a 79-54 loss against San Diego State in the opening round Friday.
The Gaels went to Las Vegas after losing to Weber State 61-57 at home last week despite leading by 16 points in that game.
They shot 34.4 percent (21 of 61) from the field and 25 percent (6 of 24) against San Diego State.
They were outrebounded 40-33 and were outscored 44-30 in the paint.
“Once we got down seven or eight, I just think we didn’t compete very well, at either end,” Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett said. “I don’t want to make any excuses, other than we better figure out where our toughness level is real quick. We’ve had two back-to-back bad second halves.”
Mitchell Saxen (16 points and eight rebounds) and Joshua Jefferson (12 points) were the only Gaels to score in double figures. They shot 12 of 24 from the field while their teammates made 9 of 37 shots.
Xavier lost to Washington 74-71 in the other opening-round game, spoiling coach Sean Miller’s 55th birthday.
The Musketeers were beaten by Purdue 83-71 on Monday before playing the Huskies.
Gytis Nemeiksa led Xavier in the loss to Washington with 20 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field. Desmond Claude had 19 points and seven rebounds before fouling out. Quincy Olivari finished with 13 points and nine rebounds.
Xavier outrebounded Washington 52-42.
Miller expressed his disappointment over Xavier having only three steals and having more turnovers (18) than assists (14).
“It’s not that we lost, it’s what happened in the game that causes me pause,” Miller said. “When you see guys not fighting, not really reaching as deep down as they can to compete, that’s a way bigger problem than missed free throws and missed shots.”
-Field Level Media
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