J.P. Batista's tip-in gave No. 4 Gonzaga the lead and Loyola Marymount's Chris Ayer missed a layup at the buzzer to give the Bulldogs a 68-67 win last night in Spokane, Wash., in the West Coast Conference tournament final.
The Bulldogs (27-3) earned their eighth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, but they would have made it even had they lost. Loyola Marymount (12-18) was trying to win its way in and had a great chance to pull it off.
Trailing by 1, the Lions inbounded the ball with 10.6 seconds left and the Gonzaga defense bottled up Brandon Worthy in the corner. Worthy found Ayer underneath, but he rushed the shot and missed badly.
Despite poor shooting, Gonzaga won the WCC tournament for the third straight time and seventh of the past eight.
Adam Morrison led all scorers with 23 points, but made only 6 of 18 field goals. Batista, playing with an injured leg, added 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Loyola Marymount led by 8 at halftime, and went on a 12-2 run to take a 48-33 lead with 13:36 left on Worthy's steal and layup and Wes Wardrop's jumper.
Gonzaga replied with a 16-2 run and Morrison's layup, his first basket of the second half, cut Loyola's lead to 50-49 with 7:37 left.
Colonial -- T.J. Carter scored 12 of his 23 points in the final three minutes, lifting North Carolina-Wilmington to a 78-67 victory over Hofstra in Richmond, Va., for its fourth Colonial Athletic Association championship in seven years.
The Seahawks (25-7) earned the league's automatic berth in the NCAA tournament, and left Hofstra (24-6) and co-league champ George Mason hoping for at-large bids.
Metro Atlantic -- Steve Burtt scored 28 points, leading Iona over St. Peter's, 80-61, in the conference final in Albany, N.Y., clinching the Gaels' eighth NCAA Tournament berth.
Jessica Davenport led the Buckeyes (28-2) with 17 points and 14 rebounds, and Brandie Hoskins added 16 and Packer 15. By winning its 19th straight game, Ohio State also earned the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and may have solidified a No. 1 seed.
No. 12 Purdue (24-6), which trailed by 17 early in the second half, rallied behind its strong 3-point shooting.
The Boilermakers hit seven 3s in the second half, including five straight, to get back in the game. But Sharika Webb, who had 10 points, missed two 3s in the closing seconds.
Atlantic 10 -- Candice Dupree scored 25 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and was named the A-10 tournament's most outstanding player for the third straight season in Temple's 59-54 victory over George Washington in the title game in Philadelphia.
Kamesha Hariston added 18 points for the No. 18 Owls (24-7), who also beat George Washington in last year's championship game. Temple is in the NCAA tournament for the third straight year.
Kimberly Beck scored 21 points for the top-seeded Colonials (22-8), who likely will earn an at-large bid.
Pac-10 -- Noelle Quinn scored the final 7 points of regulation and 4 more in overtime to lift UCLA to its first Pac-10 tournament title with an 85-76 victory over No. 11 Stanford at San Jose, Calif.
Tournament MVP Lisa Willis had 20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 6 steals, while Quinn had 22 points and 8 rebounds for the Bruins (20-10).
The Cardinal are still headed to their 19th straight NCAA Tournament. Candice Wiggins had 23 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 3 steals, but missed key opportunities in overtime and made 5 turnovers.
Horizon -- Traci Edwards scored 24 points to help Wisconsin-Milwaukee beat Illinois-Chicago, 71-63, in the Horizon League championship game in Milwaukee and earn an NCAA Tournament bid for the second time.