DAYTON, Ohio Matthew Dellavedova regained his shooting touch, and he was the difference as Saint Mary's won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time since 2010.
The senior point guard scored 22 points to lead the Gaels past Middle Tennessee State 67-54 Tuesday night in a first-round game.
The Gaels (28-6) earned the 11th seed and will travel to Auburn Hills, Mich., where they face sixth-seeded Memphis (30-4) on Thursday in the Midwest Regional.
Entering the game, Dellavedova had made only one of his last 18 three-point attempts. But Tuesday, he sank his first two attempts from beyond the arc and stayed hot, finishing 5 of 7 from long range.
"That didn't even really enter my head," Dellavedova said of his slump. "I always have confidence the next one is going down."
Dellavedova made 7 of 14 overall from the floor.
"We're not going to win games like this if Matt doesn't shoot it decent," Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said. "If he didn't make those shots, the game would have gone down to the wire."
Dellavedova wasn't the only Gael with shooting woes. At the West Coast Conference tournament, Saint Mary's shot only 25 percent on three-pointers. Against the Blue Raiders (28-6), the Gaels hit 8 of 14 (57 percent).
Defense was the biggest reason the Gaels led 29-20 at halftime. With the score 18-18, they didn't allow a basket in the final 6:13.
Saint Mary's extended its lead out of halftime, but the Blue Raiders didn't go away.
Dellavedova hit a long three-pointer as the shot clock wound down to give the Gaels their first double-digit lead, 34-24, with 17:27 left.
Middle Tennessee went on a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 41-38 with 12:36 to go. Saint Mary's answered, widening its lead to 52-42 when an open Dellavedova sank a three from the wing with 6:58 remaining.
The run continued with a dunk by Brad Waldow (Ponderosa High School) and a three-pointer by Stephen Holt, who scored 18, and the Gaels led by at least eight the rest of the way.
North Carolina A&T 73, Liberty 72 in Dayton, Ohio Reserve Jeremy Underwood tripled his average with 19 points to lead the Aggies (20-16) over the Flames (15-21).
North Carolina A&T faces No. 1 overall seed Louisville (29-5) in Lexington, Ky., on Thursday in the Midwest Regional.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.