SAN DIEGO – EJ Boyce scored 14 of his 17 points during the second half Saturday, leading 18th-ranked Saint Martin’s to a 67-63 men’s basketball victory over No. 23 Seattle Pacific in an NCAA Division II West Regional semifinal game.
Boyce made a go-ahead three-pointer with 1:36 to play in the matchup of Great Northwest Athletic Conference rivals.
Third-seeded Saint Martin’s (26-5) heads to the regional-championship game at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Golden Gymnasium against host Point Loma.
Second-seeded Seattle Pacific (22-7) had its winning streak snapped at 13; it was the team’s first loss since Jan. 26.
The Falcons hurt themselves by making a mere 17 of 32 free throws.
Gavin Long, who is from Wenatchee, led Seattle Pacific with 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting. His three-point play gave the Falcons a 53-49 lead.
BJ Standley, who scored a game-high 18 points for the Saints, answered with a driving layup and was fouled by Sam Simpson after the ball went through the basket.
Because it occurred while play was dead, the infraction was ruled a technical foul and Standley converted the two free throws to tie the score.
Saint Martin’s also kept the ball after the technical and that possession led to two free throws by Boyce, who scored 17 points. After a missed shot by Harry Cavell of the Falcons, Luke Chavez scored on a drive for a 57-53 Saints lead with 5:24 to play.
Seattle Pacific recovered and led 62-61 when Long scored with 1:49 left. But the Falcons missed their last six shots from the field.
After Boyce’s three, Standley made two free throws with 27.5 seconds left for a 66-62 lead.
The 64-team Division II tournament has eight regionals; each regional champ advances to the Elite Eight in Evansville, Ind.