MORAGA, Calif. - Patty Mills scored 27 points, 17 in the first half, leading St. Mary's to a 68-57 victory over Washington State in the first round of the NIT on Tuesday night

The second-seeded Gaels (27-6) advanced to a second-round home game against Davidson and Stephen Curry, the nation's leading scorer.

Diamon Simpson added 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for St. Mary's, in its first NIT. The Gaels won a school-record 27th game.

Aron Baynes led WSU (17-16) with 19 points, while Taylor Rochestie added 14 in the first meeting between the teams.

St. Mary's, whose hopes for an NCAA tournament at-large bid evaporated Sunday, built a 36-23 halftime lead.

The Cougars fought back, getting as close as 57-53 with 6:30 left, but St. Mary's went on a 7-0 run. Mills made two free throws, then Omar Samhan hit a jumper from the line and followed with a three-point play with 4:47 left.

Baynes, who had 10 rebounds, ended the Gaels' run with a slam dunk with 3:00 left, cutting the lead to 64-55, but Simpson answered with four straight free throws.

Mills, playing just his fourth game since returning from a broken right hand, took less than eight minutes to score 10 points, hitting three of his first four shots.


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