Some teams can survive 40 minutes of misfires in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Saint Mary's could not.
The Gaels certainly were not alone in the clanking. In the first six games Thursday, only four of the 12 teams shot better than 39 percent.
Saint Mary's shot a woeful 32.8 percent in its 54-52 loss to Memphis — and still could've pulled out a win if Matthew Dellavedova had hit a frantic three-pointer at the buzzer. But he missed, as he did often against the Tigers' tough trapping defense.
And it wasn't Dellavedova's 3-for-13 that was the killer for the Gaels; that was understandable against a Memphis defense that was wholly focused on keeping him as far away from open shots as possible.
The killer stats: Stephen Holt was 1-for-10, Mitchell Young was 4-for-12 and Beau Levesque put up as ugly a 2-for-8 as I can remember.
Again, this was not wholly unexpected against a team with the length and agility of Memphis. The Tigers blocked 12 Saint Mary's shots; Saint Mary's made only 19 shots. That's not a good ratio for Saint Mary's, by the way.
Memphis was not exactly a team of Chris Mullins, either. The Tigers shot 40.8 percent from the field, and scored only 22 points in the second half against some very good Saint Mary's defense of its own.
Basically, Saint Mary's stayed in this game, and had a chance to steal it at the end, by playing defense, scrapping on the boards (the Gaels out-rebounded
In a game like this, any made three-pointer was like a 10-pointer. Memphis made five three-pointers in 15 tries, Saint Mary's made three in 15 tries, and there's your basic ballgame.
So the Gaels come home, after a very challenging week.
They had to fly to Dayton for the play-in game on Tuesday, then had travel issues to get to Michigan, and then a rough matchup with Memphis.
But even if they didn't have all the logistical issues, the Gaels still would've had issues with Memphis. The Tigers had the bodies to throw at Dellavedova and the ability to swat away a lot of everything else Saint Mary's threw up there.
I said it Wednesday and believed it more as the game went on: Saint Mary's needed Dellavedova to do a Steph Curry-Davidson thing, to just go nuts shooting or passing, and that was not there for him today.
Not his fault, but that's what Saint Mary's needed.
So, will Dellavedova play in the NBA next season? I think so, because smart, tough pick-and-roll point guards have some value, and coaches love to have versatility on the bench.
I don't know if Dellavedova is going to be anybody's idea of a good defensive matchup against NBA speed ... but I would make the same point about Jose Calderon, Randy Foye and many other journeyman NBA guards.
And we know Dellavedova can play the pick-and-roll. He made some wonderful lefty passes to cutters today—not all of them were converted, but they were pure NBA plays.
You know who else has made a decent NBA living mainly because he can run the pick-and-roll? Undrafted local guy named Jeremy Lin.