Saint Mary's played the first 25 minutes Monday night like a team capable of winning the West Coast Conference Tournament and making a deep run in the NCAAs.

They let a 26-point lead get down to three before holding off BYU to win 76-69 and advance to their fourth WCC title game in five years.

“You’ve gotta be good at the right time,” said guard Rudi Williams, who sported a white headband and scored a team-high 23 points in BYU’s 73-63 win over LMU Saturday night.

No. 5 seed BYU, riding a three-game winning streak, faces the Gaels Monday at Orleans Arena. The Cougars are hoping to go out of the WCC with a bang. In 12 years in the league, BYU has never won a WCC tournament title.

The winner of Monday’s BYU-Saint Mary’s semifinal game will play for a WCC tournament championship Tuesday, likely against No. 2 seed Gonzaga, which is ranked No. 10 nationally.

This season, BYU suffered a gut-wrenching 57-56 loss to the Gaels in Provo on Jan. 28, when freshman Aidan Mahaney hit a tough, turnaround jumper with 0.3 seconds left on the clock.

Curiously, all of BYU’s WCC wins this season have been by double-figures. All of its WCC losses but one (to last-place Pepperdine) have been by single digits, including two one-point setbacks against

The Cougars got within 72-69 with 32.1 seconds to go before Kyle Bowen made a fast-break layup and Mahaney sank a free throw to give Saint Mary's some breathing room again.