College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, November 18, 2010
Last year, St. Mary's turned the tables on Gonzaga in the West Coast conference. The Bulldogs had won the conference title for so many years that it had become almost a foregone conclusion. They did win the regular season title for the 10th straight year, but St. Mary's - who had lost to them twice during the regular season, came back with a vengeance to win the tournament championship with an 81-62 win and an automatic berth in the NCAA tourney.
The Gaels made the most of March Madness, winning two games before falling to Baylor in the Sweet Sixteen round. This season, without star center Omar Samhan, who graduated and is now playing in Europe, the Gaels seek their second straight WCC tournament championship and have their eyes set toward Gonzaga again, their main challengers in the regular season.
Samhan won't be missed too badly if redshirt sophomore Tim Williams continues to show the kind of game he produced in St. Mary's 101-69 win over Point Loma Nazarene on Thursday. Williams scored the nets for a game-high 23 points and clogged the middle, pulling down 14 rebounds in the process.
Played sparingly last season, Williams is being looked upon as a viable replacement for Samhan, who earned a 2010 All American honorable mention. After the big effort against little Point Loma, Williams bears watching against better teams as the season progresses.
Notable: Getting four or five players into double figures is normally a good sing of team balance and usually produces an abundance of wins. On Thursday, a couple of wins were produced with more than the normal numbers and another with none. The Florida Gators had 8 players in double figures in the 105-55 win over NC A&T, outdoing Valparaiso, which had seven players score in double digits as they topped Purdue North Central, 98-44.
The strangest stat sheet of the night, however, belonged to to Missouri. They slipped past Western Illinois, 66-61, with no players in double figures. Four different Tigers tallied 9 points, and nine players scored in all, ranging between 4 and 9 points.