Saint Mary’s beats Middle Tennessee in First Four

DAYTON, Ohio — Matthew Dellavedova scored 22 points on Tuesday night, and Saint Mary’s got a good start on its second straight NCAA tournament appearance, beating Middle Tennessee 67-54 in the First Four.

The Gaels (28-6) get a quick trip to Auburn Hills, Mich., to play sixth-seeded Memphis on Thursday.

Saint Mary’s is making back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances for the first time in its history. The Gaels reached the round of 16 in 2010 before losing to Baylor. Not so good last year, when they dropped their opening game to Purdue 72-69.

With four starters back and Dellavedova, the school’s career scoring leader, handling the ball and making the biggest shots, the Gaels were too much for Middle Tennessee (28-6), which was making its first NCAA tournament appearance in 24 years.

Credit Dellavedova for making a difference. The point guard went 7 of 14 from the field, had four assists and six rebounds.

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