Saturday, July 13, 2024

Washington beats Saint Mary’s in OT for Wooden Legacy title

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ANAHEIM — Keion Brooks had 14 points and 11 rebounds, PJ Fuller II made a game-tying shot to force overtime, and Washington overcame 23 turnovers to beat Saint Mary’s, 68-64, late Thursday night in the championship game of the Wooden Legacy.

Fuller tied it at 58-all on a three-point play with 52 seconds left in regulation. Saint Mary’s missed two long 3-point attempts on its next possession and Washington wasn’t able to get a shot off before the buzzer.

Washington center Braxton Meah missed a free throw with 1:18 left in overtime but Saint Mary’s was called for a lane violation and Meah made his next two free throws for a 63-62 lead. Then Meah blocked a shot at the other end, Washington’s seventh of the game, and Brooks made a jumper for a 65-62 lead.

Saint Mary’s missed another long 3-pointer and Fuller made two free throws with 15.3 seconds left for a 67-62 lead. The Gaels converted in the lane with 3.7 seconds left but Washington sealed it at the line.

“Really proud of these guys. It took a lot of grit, a lot of toughness and a lot of togetherness and these guys showed up,” Washington coach Mike Hopkins said. “Saint Mary’s is a championship program. They have one of the best defenses so far in the country, they’re great from the 3-point line and I thought we had one of our better defensive nights.

“We got back in the game, tied it up, and then the guys just fought through. I’m really proud of our guys and it was a tough-fought win. The thing that I loved was some of the multiple efforts and loose balls and the plays that you have to make to win the game.”

Koren Johnson added 11 points and Franck Kepnang had 10 points before fouling out with 2:30 left in regulation for Washington (5-1). Meah, a Fresno State transfer, had four points and eight rebounds.

Mitchell Saxen led Saint Mary’s (6-1) with 19 points and eight rebounds. Kyle Bowen added 12 points.

“We got up five and should have won the game, but we didn’t,” Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett said. “Down the stretch, we didn’t make enough smart plays and then they hit some shots. … We made so many plays that hurt our chances to win the game, which happens in a game, but just down the stretch we had a foul and gave them an and-one and that was just a dumb play. We just have to get better. I wasn’t really pleased with how we played.”

“We got exposed on some things that we’re not good at. We are good at attacking zone, but we’re not good at attacking zone and making shots. … You have to make a decent percentage of shots, and we didn’t last night either (against Vanderbilt). Washington’s too good to shoot the ball that way, turn over the ball that way and get beat on the boards that way.”

Washington also won the Wooden Legacy in 2014 and last played on Thanksgiving Day in 2015.

In the third-place game …

Vanderbilt 67, Fresno State 59: Liam Robbins had 20 points, seven rebounds and a career-high eight blocked shots, Tyrin Lawrence scored 19 points as the Commodores outplayed the Bulldogs.

Lawrence scored nine straight Vanderbilt points down the stretch.

Lawrence made a 3-pointer with 7:21 left for a 54-51 lead, but the Commodores didn’t make another field goal until Lawrence’s basket at 3:12. Fresno State also struggled to score, only making one field goal in the final four minutes as Vanderbilt closed on an 11-2 run.

“This is a big win for us,” Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse said. “I thought Liam came in and really protected the rim for us. He had eight blocks and he probably affected five or six more around the rim. If we don’t have that type of protection, they have the guys that can convert around the rim and can play above the rim.”

Myles Stute added 16 points with four 3-pointers for Vanderbilt (3-3), which rebounded after a 75-65 loss to Saint Mary’s in a tournament opener on Wednesday.

Stute scored eight points in the final 6:24 of the first half and Vanderbilt closed on a 15-3 run for a 31-26 lead at the break.

Jemarl Baker scored 22 points with seven assists for Fresno State (1-5), which lost to Washington on Wednesday. Eduardo Andre and Isaih Moore each had 10 points and 12 rebounds.

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