College Hoops Player of the Day for Monday, March 5, 2012
St. Mary's upended #24 Gonzaga in overtime, 78-74, taking home the West Coast Conference tournament trophy and earning the automatic bid to the NCAA tourney.
Senior forward Rob Jones scored 18 points, pulled in nine rebounds and had three steals for the Gaels, who will be making their second trip to the big dance in the past three years. Matthew Delladevoda pumped in 22 points and dished four assists in the victory.
St. Mary's (27-5, 14-2) also won the conference regular season title. It's the first time in school history that they've captured both championships in the same season. For the 25-6 Bulldogs, who finished the WCC regular season at 13-3, in second place, the loss means waiting until Selection Sunday to see if they've done enough to win over the committee for an at-large invitation.
TOURNAMENT FINAL RESULTS:
Davidson 93 Western Carolina 91 - Davidson (25-7) was pushed to overtime by the Catamounts, but prevailed to capture the Southern Conference Tournament championship and secure an automatic bid to the NCAA tourney. Western Carolina and its 17-16 record will likely end up in the NIT.
Loyola (MD) 48 Fairfield 44 - The game wasn't exactly a sprint, but the Greyhounds of Loyola, Maryland took the final of the MAAC conference tournament after finishing second to Iona in the regular season standings. The Greyhounds (13-5, 24-8) will be making their first appearance in the NCAAs since 1995, when the team was coached by Skip Prosser. Loyola overcame a 30-26 half time deficit with an 11-1 run to open the second half and held the Stags to just 14 second half points.
VCU 59 Drexel 56 - Virginia Commonwealth ensured a return trip to the NCAA tourney with a 59-56 win over Drexel in the Colonial Athletic conference championship game. The Rams reached the Final Four last season and will have the opportunity to reprise their epic run when the madness ensues next week at locales across the country.
VCU built a 16 point lead early in the second half, but had to hold off a furious rally from Drexel, which entered the game on a 19-game winning streak, the second longest in the country behind Kentucky. The Dragons won the Colonial conference regular season with a 16-2 record. At 27-6 overall, they appear headed to the NCAA tournament despite their loss in the final.