Thanks to Luke Chavez’s 17-foot jumper with 2.6 seconds to play, the Saint Martin’s men’s basketball team will advance to the GNAC men’s basketball finals with a 69-68 victory over No. 2 Western Washington on Friday.
The third-seeded Saints led by as much as 15 points in the first half but trailed with 4.4 seconds to go when the Vikings’ Trey Drechsel made a free throw. That set up Chavez for the game-winner, although SMU had to survive Drechsel’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer that fell short.
Chavez led the hot-shooting Saints with 20 points, connecting on 8-of-16 from the field (including 3-of-6 from 3). SMU (24-6) shot 47.2 percent for the game.
BJ Standley came off the bench for 11 points while EJ Boyce added 10 points for SMU. Matt Dahlen finished with 10 rebounds.
Deandre Dickson led Western (21-8) with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
The Saints (24-6) will play either No. 1 seed Western Oregon or No. 4 seed Seattle Pacific in Saturday’s championship final. The winner earning the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Division II Championship.