LAS VEGAS -- Saint Mary's beat Pepperdine 80-69 in the late West Coast Conference men's tournament quarterfinal game at the Orleans Arena on Saturday night, and the challenge becomes steeper come Monday.

The fourth-seeded Gaels (22-10) will play top-seeded Gonzaga (26-6) in the first semifinal at 6 p.m. Saint Mary's lost to the Bulldogs by 22 points in early January and by 28 at home in the regular-season finale.

"We will have to make some adjustments to make the game a close game," Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said.

Pepperdine (15-16) had difficulty trying to cut its deficit to single digits against Saint Mary's, which was led by junior forward Brad Waldow's 21 points and eight rebounds. Beau Levesque and Stephen Holt scored 15 apiece for the Gaels.

"We will have to compete hard on every single play," Holt said about Monday's clash with Gonzaga. "We can't take any plays off ... we have to take great shots, and penetrate ... and fly around on defense."

Saint Mary's started pulling away from Pepperdine in the final six minutes of the first half. The game was tied 22-22 when the Gaels finished the first half with a 19-6 run.

Gaels guard Kerry Carter's punctuation mark wowed the crowd of 7,898. The 6-foot-2 Carter sailed into the right baseline for a two- handed dunk past 6-7, 215-pound sophomore Jett Raines and then over 6-9, 235-pound senior Brendan Lane, making it 59-43 with 12:44 left.


Advertisement

It was the third time this season that the Gaels defeated Pepperdine, which was led by freshman guard Amadi Udenyi's 13 points and got a dozen from sophomore forward Stacy Davis.