|George Mason's Cam Long tries to get a shot around VCU's Larry Sanders, who dominated inside with seven blocks. (Steve Helber/Associated Press)|
Gonzaga back on dance card
Josh Heytvelt scored 17 points, Micah Downs added 12 points and 12 rebounds, and No. 12 Gonzaga romped into its 11th consecutive NCAA Tournament with an 83-58 victory over Saint Mary's and struggling star Patty Mills last night in the West Coast Conference championship game in Las Vegas.
Matt Bouldin scored 14 points for the relentless Zags (26-5), who followed up their perfect regular-season conference slate with two blowout wins in the tournament, giving them 19 victories in their past 20 games.
With Mills going 2 for 16 in his second game back from a broken hand, Saint Mary's (25-6) never threatened the Zags in a loss that endangers the Gaels' hopes for the first back-to-back NCAA Tournament bids in school history.
Gonzaga, which moved up two spots in yesterday's Top 25 poll after routing Santa Clara in Sunday's semifinals, has won eight of the past 12 WCC tournament titles.
Colonial Athletic Association championship - Eric Maynor had 25 points and 8 assists and is heading back to the NCAA Tournament after leading Virginia Commonwealth to a 71-50 victory against George Mason in Richmond, Va.
Larry Sanders added 18 points, and set championship game records with 20 rebounds and 7 blocks for the Rams (24-9), who stunned Duke in the first round two years ago and look capable of giving another team trouble by letting their senior guard and big forward lead the way.
The defending CAA champion Patriots (22-10) trailed, 30-19, at halftime and did little to slow Maynor, the two-time CAA player of the year, or the disruptive Sanders, who had four blocks in the first half.
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship - Kenny Hasbrouck shook off a nagging calf injury and a terrible first half to score 19 points in leading Siena to defend its tournament title with a 77-70 win over Niagara in Albany, N.Y. Ryan Rossiter added 16 points and 14 rebounds as the Saints (26-7) clinched their program's fifth NCAA Tournament berth.
Southern Conference championship - Keyron Sheard scored 18 points and Chattanooga beat College of Charleston, 80-69, in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Mocs (18-16) earned their 10th NCAA Tournament appearance with the automatic bid. They last appeared in the tournament in 2005, losing in the opening round to Wake Forest. Tony White Jr. led College of Charleston (26-8) with 31 points.
Sun Belt semifinals - A.J. Slaughter scored 20 points, including a pair of big 3-pointers in the final 5 minutes that sent Western Kentucky to a 77-70 victory over North Texas in Hot Springs, Ark. The top-seeded Hilltoppers (23-8) will meet South Alabama, a 55-44 winner over Arkansas-Little Rock in the other semifinal, tonight for an automatic NCAA berth.
Summit League semifinals - Mike Nelson had 22 points and 7 rebounds and Ben Woodside added 21 points and 7 assists as North Dakota State moved into the title game with a 79-67 win over Southern Utah in Sioux Falls, S.D. The regular-season champion Bison (25-6) will try to lock up the tournament title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament tonight against Oakland University, which beat South Dakota State, 74-56, in the other semifinal.