MORAGA -- A game that began with much excitement ended in major disappointment for the Saint Mary's.
After retiring former star Matthew Dellavedova's No. 4 jersey in a pregame ceremony in front of a sellout crowd of 3,500 fans, the Gaels couldn't hold onto a double-digit lead and lost to BYU 60-57 at McKeon Pavilion on Saturday night.
Saint Mary's struggled against the Cougars' zone defense in the second half when it shot just 32 percent and scored 22 points. The Gaels also had two crucial turnovers in the final minute of the battle for second place in the West Coast Conference.
"There's pressure and we have to handle the pressure better," Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said. "We did a lot right, we just didn't finish the game."
Dellavedova, now a rookie with the Cleveland Cavaliers, made the most famous shot of his record-setting and decorated Saint Mary's career against BYU last year, a running 3-pointer at the buzzer that gave the Gaels a 70-69 win in Provo.
But BYU (18-10, 10-5 WCC) wouldn't let the Gaels (19-8, 9-5 WCC) replicate that late-game magic. The Cougars took a 58-55 lead on a pair of Matt Carlino free throws with 7.2 seconds to play and elected to foul Stephen Holt with four seconds left, rather than risk a 3-pointer.
He made both free throws, and Skyler Halford then made two for the Cougars with three seconds to play. Holt was fouled again with a second left and missed, but the Cougars secured the rebound as time ran out.
"I was torn," Bennett said of how to play Holt's first trip to the free throw line. "Five seconds left, I know what I'd do. Three seconds, I know what I'd do. Four ... I'm OK with it. (Holt) made them make free throws, and if they didn't make their free throws, then you have a chance to win it or tie it."
Brad Waldow finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds for Saint Mary's, which led by as many as 14 points in the first half and 35-25 at halftime before its offense went stagnant.
"We've seen zone this whole year and we've been able to shoot teams out of it," said Holt. "Part of it was turnovers ... some of it was uncharacteristic and some of it was us not knocking down shots. If we face it again, we'll be confident."
Saint Mary's made just four of 19 shots from beyond the arc (21.1 percent).
BYU never trailed after Nate Austin's tip-in with 2:50 left as the Cougars completed a regular-season sweep.
Dellavedova, who has the weekend off for the NBA All-Star break, is just the second men's basketball player to have his jersey retired at Saint Mary's, joining Tom Meschery (1958-1961).
"I feel a little bit young for it," said Dellavedova. "But it's good that I can come back and publicly thank a lot of people that made my experience at Saint Mary's an awesome one."
Saint Mary's (19-8, 9-5 WCC) at USF (16-10, 9-5), 8 p.m. CSNCA