College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, March 8, 2010
After losing twice to Gonzaga during the regular season, not many gave St. Mary's much of a chance against the Bulldogs in the West Coast Conference tournament final, but Mickey McConnell, who was shut out in the last meeting with the Zags, lit them up for 26 points and led the Gaels to the 81-62 upset win.
McConnell hit 10 of 17 shots, including 4 of 7 from three-point range, as he dashed through the Gonzaga defense en route to equalling his season high. At 6'0", McConnell was like a gnat amongst the trees, slashing into the lane for shots or dishing to teammates. He had 6 assists along with 4 steals as the Gaels pulled away steadily in the second half.
Also providing a significant boost was Ben Allen, who played his best game of the season when it counted the most, nailing 8 of 11 shots from the field - including 4 of 6 3-pointers - for a season-high 20 points. Allen was also solid on the boards, snatching 9 rebounds.
The win gave St. Mary's the automatic conference bid. Gonzaga, already a sure thing to make the tourney, will have to wait until Sunday to see where they are seeded.
Notable: Along with St. Mary's, the other teams winning conference tournaments were Old Dominion in the Colonial, with a 60-53 win over William & Mary; Sienna, slipping past Fairfield in OT, 72-65 (Edwin Ubiles, 27 points) for the Metro Atlantic crown; and, Wofford, winning the Southern Conference tourney, will be making its first ever appearance in the NCAA tourney, after a 56-51 win over Appalachian State.
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