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Saints Use Luke's Force To Advance To West Region Semis
While Chavez made 3 of 6 from three-point range, it was his 5 of 6 from the free throw line that ultimately sealed the win. Photo courtesy Point Loma.
While Chavez made 3 of 6 from three-point range, it was his 5 of 6 from the free throw line that ultimately sealed the win. Photo courtesy Point Loma.

Friday, March 15, 2019

SAN DIEGO – For the second straight game, Saint Martin’s saw a big first-half lead slip away. This time, however, the Saints did not let go of the game for good.

Senior guard Luke Chavez sunk a pair of free throws with eight seconds left to ice the game for the No. 3 seed Saints, 63-60, over No. 6 seed Concordia Irvine in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball West Regional at Golden Gymnasium.

The free throws capped an afternoon that saw Chavez lead the Saints with 18 points on 5 of 10 from the field, 3 of 6 from three-point range and 5 of 6 from the free throw line. His ledger also included eight rebounds and three steals. Senior guard B.J. Standley added 13 points on 4 of 8 from the field and 5 of 6 from the free throw line.

With the win, the Saints (25-5) advance to play the winner of the game between No. 2 seed Seattle Pacific and No. 7 seed Chaminade in the semifinals on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Brian Chambers led Concordia Irvine with 21 points and 10 rebounds. He shot 7 of 18 from the field and 5 of 11 from the three-point line while also coming up with four steals and two blocks. Robert Taylor added 10 points as the Eagles end their season with a 23-11 overall record.

Concordia was ice cold early in the first half, failing to make their first field goal until Cameron English’s lay-in fell six minutes into the period. The Saints took full advantage, opening up a 12-2 lead on Chavez’s three-pointer at the 16:27 mark before going ahead 16-2 on Jared Mathews’ lay-in with 14:53 to go.

The Eagles bounced back to come within 23-20 on Kyle Gray’s three with 6:51 left, but EJ Boyce’s three on the next possession opened 9-0 run that saw SMU go up 31-20. The Saints would hold on to the 33-24 lead at the break.

It was Saint Martin’s that went frigid to open the second half, making just one field goal over the first six minutes. The Eagles took advantage with a 14-4 run of their own, culminating on two made free throws by Taylor that gave Concordia its first lead, 38-37, with 13:44 left. That started a string of seven straight charity shots made by the Eagles that extended the lead to 43-39.

Saint Martin’s scored the next five points to take back a one-point lead before the teams traded leads over the next nine minutes. Chavez was the hero down the stretch, scoring six of the final eight points including a pair of free throws with 30 seconds left that put SMU in the lead for good.

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