LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) - Mitchell Young scored 17 points off the bench and freshman Stephen Holt added 15 to lead No. 1 seed Saint Mary's to a 73-64 victory over No. 4 seed Santa Clara in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference tournament Sunday night.
The Gaels (24-7) will face Gonzaga in Monday's championship game. Saint Mary's is seeking its second straight WCC tournament title.
Marc Trasolini led Santa Clara (19-14) with 22 points, and Kevin Foster added 18 points, but made only 5-of-18 shots.
Saint Mary's led 31-29 at halftime and never trailed in the second half.
"It was a tough game, a gritty game," Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said. "In the first half it was hard to get away from them, but we survived some foul trouble."
The win was the Gaels' third this season against the Broncos.
Early in the second half Saint Mary's went on a 9-3 run to take a 42-34 lead with 17:08 remaining. Holt started it with a jumper, Rob Jones converted a three-point play and Young capped it with a putback.
Santa Clara answered with Trasolini beating the shot clock, Evan Roquemore hitting a pull-up jumper and Foster draining a 3-pointer to pull the Broncos within 44-41.
Santa Clara later got within 53-50 after a jumper by Trasolini with 6:25 remaining, but Saint Mary's then went on a 7-0 run. Matthew Dellavedova, who had 13 points, made a pair of free throws and Young scored the next five to give Saint Mary's a 60-50 lead.
"Mitch really stepped up. That's how it's been all year; guys picked each other up," Bennett said.
Saint Mary's held a 25-4 advantage in bench scoring with Kenton Walker II adding eight points in 16 minutes.
Holt came into the game averaging six points a game, but had 12 midway through the second half.
Bennett made the decision to start Holt at guard in an effort to slow down Foster.
"I didn't want Foster to get going right away," Bennett said.
Foster, who leads the WCC in scoring and the nation in 3s attempted and made, was just 4 of 12 from 3-point range.
The game was tied five times and saw eight lead changes in the first half.
The win was the Gaels' third this season against the Broncos and the fifth in the last six games against Santa Clara in the WCC Tournament, dating back to 2002. The victory also extended the Gaels' success rate in The Orleans Arena to four-straight games. Saint Mary's won both games in last year's WCC Tournament and defeated Mississippi State 94-72 in the Shamrock Classic on Dec. 29.
Scheduled for a 6 p.m. tipoff at Orleans Arena, tomorrow's championship game will be televised live by ESPN. The contest will also feature live audio, statistics and chat coverage on SMCGaels.com. A radio broadcast with Mike Bouve will air on KFRC 1550 AM / SMCGaels.com. Westwood One will also carry a nationally-syndicated broadcast.
Santa Clara vs Saint Mary's
NOTEWORTHY: The semifinal win places Saint Mary's to its third-straight WCC Tournament championship appearance ... The Gaels won last year's event with an 81-62 victory over Gonzaga ... Stephen Holt's 15 points was one shy of his career-high, set last weekend against Portland ... the Gaels' largest lead was 12 points with 2:59 left in the game ... Santa Clara's largest lead was 4 points with 3:53 left in the first half ... Mickey McConnell kept his streak of scoring at least one field goal since last season's Pepperdine game ... McConnell has made his last 20 free throws, dating back has last miss at San Diego on Feb. 16.