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Second-half surge puts Toreros in NCAAs

SAN DIEGO — Rob Jones and De'Jon Jackson keyed a huge second-half run for San Diego, which stunned No.  20 Gonzaga 69-62 to win the West Coast Conference tournament championship game Monday night for its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2003.

Showing no effects from needing two overtimes to beat Saint Mary's on Sunday night, the scrappy Toreros went on a 19-4 second-half run to take control and give first-year coach Bill Grier a huge win against his old boss, Mark Few.

USD had lost 13 straight to the Bulldogs since upsetting them in the 2003 tournament title game.

Holding a comfortable lead in the final minute, the Toreros put an emphatic stamp on the upset. Gyno Pomare had a fast-break dunk with 25 seconds left, then pumped his fists after making two free throws. Trumaine Johnson dunked with 7.9 seconds left and hung on the rim, drawing a technical foul.

The students then got their turn, rushing the court after the final buzzer and swarming at midcourt, delaying the trophy presentation for several minutes.

The Bulldogs must now wait for an at-large invitation, which would be their 10th straight NCAA appearance. They were trying for their fifth straight league title and ninth in 10 years.

Jackson scored 16, Jones 15 and Pomare 14, along with 10 rebounds. Jeremy Pargo had 22 for Gonzaga.

Gonzaga took a 43-38 lead with 13:33 left on Josh Heytvelt's one-handed shot from the key.

That's when the Toreros got hot, going on a run that Jones finished with two free throws for a 57-47 lead with 5:52 left.

NO.  23 DAVIDSON 65, ELON 49: Stephen Curry scored 23 to lead the Wildcats back into the NCAA Tournament with their third straight Southern Conference crown and fourth since 2002, beating the Phoenix in North Charleston, S.C.

AP POLL: BYU, ranked for five weeks earlier this season, returned at No.  24 in the season's next-to-last poll. The previous No.  24, Clemson, dropped out. North Carolina remained No.  1.

Other conference finals

CAA: Folarin Campbell scored 20 and Will Thomas added 18 and 13 rebounds as George Mason beat William & Mary 68-59 to win the Colonial Athletic Association tournament in Richmond, Va.

MAAC: Tay Fisher matched his career high with six 3-pointers and scored 21, and top-seeded Siena beat Rider 74-53 in Albany, N.Y., to win the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship and earn its fourth berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Olson returning

TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona coach Lute Olson is returning at the end of the season. Athletic director Jim Livengood confirmed that Olson, 73, who has been on personal leave since Nov.  4, will come back under a contract that runs through 2011. Olson said in a statement his leave was necessitated "by a medical condition that was not life-threatening, but serious enough to require time away from my coaching responsibilities."

All-ACC team picked

North Carolina junior forward Tyler Hansbrough was the lone unanimous selection to the all-ACC first team by the league's media. Hansbrough, the league leader in scoring and rebounding, received 90 votes and 270 points. Boston College guard Tyrese Rice, Virginia guard Sean Singletary, Duke guard/forward DeMarcus Nelson and Miami guard Jack McClinton rounded out the first team. Florida State guard Toney Douglas was a third-team pick and made the league's all-defensive team.

Eckerd receives bid

Eckerd College earned an at-large bid to the Division II tournament, reaching the field of 64 for the second straight season and sixth since 2001. The Tritons (19-9, 11-5 Sunshine State) are the No.  7 seed in the South Region, hosted by No.  1 seed Florida Southern.

Times staff writer Brian Landman contributed to this report.


In the field

Automatic berths for the NCAA Tournament:

Austin PeayOhio Valley

BelmontAtlantic Sun

CornellIvy League

Davidson Southern

Drake MVC

George Mason CAA

San Diego West Coast

Siena MAAC

WinthropBig South

Second-half surge puts Toreros in NCAAs 03/11/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:35am]
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