College Hoops Player of the Day for Friday, December 18, 2009
Looking to get back to the NCAA tournament, the St. Mary's Gaels of the West Coast conference seem to have the players and chemistry to get there as they improved to 9-1 on Friday with a 80-65 thumping of Pacific.
The Gaels, despite finishing the 08-09 regular season with a 26-6 record, were denied an invitation to the Big Dance, eventually falling in the quarterfinals of the NIT. In 07-08, they lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Miami, after going 25-6. A mainstay in both of those seasons was 6'11" center Omar Samhan, now a senior, who's scored in double figures every game this season and has six double-double games this year.
In Friday's game, Samhan tallied 28 points, adding 8 boards and 4 blocks. He leads the Gaels in all three categories. Visting Vanderbilt, one of the top SEC teams this year, handed the Gaels their only loss of the season on November 20, 72-70. The season's biggest tests come on January 14 and again on February 11, when St. Mary's hosts, then plays at, Gonzaga.