AUBURN HILLS, Mich -- Matthew Dellavedova was looking for one more clutch basket.

When the star senior point guard put up a last-second 3-pointer against Memphis in the NCAA tournament's round of 64 on Thursday, another improbable comeback loomed for the Saint Mary's College men's basketball team.

Instead, the ball didn't even hit the rim, and sixth-seeded Memphis escaped with a 54-52 victory at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan to end the No. 11 Gaels' season.

"It was straight, but had too much on it," a solemn Dellavedova said of his final shot. "I kind of double-pumped it, I (should have) realized I was open ... It was a good look."

Saint Mary’s guard Matthew Dellavedova (4) is guarded by Memphis guard Geron Johnson in the first half of a second-round game of the NCAA college
Saint Mary's guard Matthew Dellavedova (4) is guarded by Memphis guard Geron Johnson in the first half of a second-round game of the NCAA college basketball tournament March 21, 2013, in Auburn Hills, Mich. (Duane Burleson/AP)

Said junior Beau Levesque: "The guy has made some miraculous plays in his career, so when he let it go, I think it's in. I was definitely shocked that it didn't. That's the guy you want to have the ball at the end of the game. He got a great look and I wouldn't want any other shot being taken."

That Saint Mary's (28-7) was even in position to win at the end took a couple major comebacks.

The Gaels trailed by as many as 15 in the first half and were down by seven with under 45 seconds to play, but never went away.

Eividas Petrulis came deep off the bench and hit the biggest shot of his career to give Saint Mary's a chance at the buzzer. The walk-on sophomore, who averages 1.5 points a game, banked in a 3-pointer to get Saint Mary's within two points with two seconds left.


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Freshman guard Jordan Giusti immediately forced a turnover off a botched inbounds pass by Memphis (31-4), giving Dellavedova and the Gaels 1.9 seconds left to work their magic.

Saint Mary's didn't have a timeout remaining, but caught a break when the officials stopped the game to determine whether Petrulis' shot came from beyond the 3-point line.

"It was a scramble situation over there, to say the least," Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said. "Our guys executed about as well as you could on that, and we had a decent look. With that much time, they're not going to leave him open. But he had a shot that he could make, and that's all you can ask for in that situation."

Dellavedova, a starter on the 2012 Australian Olympic team, nailed a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in a comeback win over BYU in January and hit another deep shot in the final seconds of a win against San Diego at the West Coast Conference tournament.

He had 10 points and seven assists in the final game of his decorated career at Saint Mary's, battling constant double teams from a long and fast Memphis team.

"He's just a great person all-around," said sophomore forward Brad Waldow, who fought back tears as he described Dellavedova. "He taught me how to be a winner on and off the court and is a great role model."

Saint Mary's was in the game until the end despite shooting just 32.8 percent against a tenacious Memphis defense. The Tigers blocked 12 shots, including eight swats by D.J. Stephens, and had nine steals.

Memphis, which was led by guard Joe Jackson's 14 points and seven assists, could have finished off the Gaels earlier but missed six free throws in the game's closing minutes.

Waldow scored a team-high 17 points for Saint Mary's, and senior Mitchell Young just missed a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds before fouling out.

"That was probably the toughest locker room I've ever had to be in," Bennett said.

"This is the way it should be. The guys should care this much and they did. So I just told them how proud I was of them."

On Saturday, Memphis will face No. 3 Michigan State (27-8) with a spot in the Sweet Sixteen at stake. Michigan State beat Valparaiso 65-54 in its tournament opener.