LAS VEGAS – Saint Mary’s senior guard Jordan Ford, who put on a show with 42 points in Saturday’s double-overtime win over Pepperdine, produced more magic late Monday night.
Ford hit a pull-up jumper with 1.4 seconds left, leading the third-seeded Gaels to a thrilling 51-50 win over No. 2 BYU in the WCC Tournament semifinals.
“Everyone was telling me to get to the basket,” said Ford, who scored 18 points. “I was thinking I kind of wanted to get to a jumper, try to get downhill a little bit and stop on a dime, and shoot.”
Ford’s shot set up a familiar title-game matchup. For the ninth time in the 12 WCC Tournaments staged at Orleans Arena, Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s will collide in Tuesday night’s championship game.
The Zags are 5-3 in those matchups. but Saint Mary’s pulled off a stunning 60-47 upset of Gonzaga to claim last year’s title.
Earlier, top-seeded Gonzaga advanced with a hard-fought 81-77 win over San Francisco.
BYU built an 11-point lead early in the second half. The Cougars appeared to repel the Gaels’ second-half rally when Yoeli Childs scored in the lane, putting BYU up 50-47 with 1:50 left.
Saint Mary’s forward Malik Fitts made a short jumper with 1:20 left and Childs missed three shots before Ford connected on the game-winner.
Gonzaga crushed the Gaels 90-60 in Moraga, California. The Zags won the rematch 86-76 in the regular-season finale, despite Ford pouring in 28 points.
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