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NCAA Tournament Bracket 2012, Saint Mary's Vs. Purdue: Last-Minute Heroics Weren't Enough

The St. Mary's, Calif. Gaels entered the 2012 NCAA Tournament as a No. 7 seed and had high hopes of proving they were for real. Fighting doubts about their Top 25 ranking throughout the 2011-12 season, they wanted a national championship to go in the trophy case alongside their 2012 WCC championship. Unfortunately, they fell far short, as they were eliminated in their first game on Friday in the Round of 64.

The No. 10 Purdue Boilermakers were never going to be a slouch or a pushover for the Gaels. In fact, many oddmakers and analysts had St. Mary's pegged as the underdog heading into the contest. Throughout the first half, the Gaels looked rusty and disjointed, as if the time off since their WCC Tournament win had gotten them woefully out of sync. They had several runs where they took several attempts in a row, but nothing would fall for them. In true St. Mary's fashion, it all came down to the very last minute of the game.

The Gaels sunk a three-pointer with 40 seconds left to take their very first lead of the entire game, 69-68. St. Mary's was called for traveling while attempting to inbound the ball, which gave possession back to the Boilermakers with just over 30 seconds left. Lewis Jackson got hit with a foul and got one and one to shoot. He sank both shots to give Purdue the one-point lead with under 20 seconds to play. A three-point attempt was airballed and Purdue went to the line again, this time with Robbie Hummel taking the shots. Hummel sank both shots to seal the win for the Boilermakers.

It was a disappointing end to a fantastic SMC season, but they will learn from the experience and hopefully rebound even stronger next year.

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