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M 1 • TUeSDAy • 03.12.2019 AUTOMATIC NCAA BIDS

Gonzaga advances

Awarded Monday • Wofford (Southern); Iona (MAAC)

Bulldogs are seeking seventh WCC title in a row

Tuesday • Horizon: (Wright State vs. Northern Kentucky), 6 p.m., ESPN; Northeast (Fairleigh Dickinson at St. Francis, Pa.), 6 p.m., ESPN2; Colonial (Hofstra vs. Northeastern), 6 p.m., CBSSN; West Coast (Gonzaga vs. San Diego or St. Mary’s), 8 p.m., ESPN; Summit (North Dakota State vs. Omaha), 8 p.m., ESPN2


Previously awarded • Bradley (MVC); Gardner-Webb (Big South); Liberty (Atlantic Sun); Murray State (OVC) UPCOMING

Wednesday • Patriot (Bucknell at Colgate), 6:30 p.m., CBSSN Saturday • America East, 10 a.m., ESPN2; MEAC, 12 p.m., ESPN2; Mountain West, 5 p.m., KMOV-4; Big 12, 5 p.m., ESPN; SWAC, 5 p.m., ESPNU; Big East, 5:30 p.m., KTVI-2; MAC, 6:30 p.m., ESPN2; Big Sky, 7 p.m., ESPNU; ACC, 7:30 p.m., ESPN; C-USA, 7:30 p.m., CBSSN; Southland, 8:30 p.m., ESPN2; Pac-12, 9:30 p.m., ESPN; WAC, 9:30 p.m., ESPNU; Big West, 11 p.m., ESPN2 March 17 • Ivy, 11 a.m., ESPN2; Atlantic 10, 12 p.m., KMOV-4; SEC, 12 p.m., ESPN; Sun Belt, 1 p.m., ESPN2; American, 2:15 p.m., ESPN; Big Ten, 2:30 p.m., KMOV-4



Pepperdine’s Darnell Dunn (bottom) fouls Gonzaga’s Killian Tillie during the second half on Monday. ASSOCIATED PRESS

Jade Smith had 14.

Zach Norvell Jr. scored 18 points to lead five players in double figures, and No. 1 Gonzaga beat Pepperdine 100-74 on Monday night in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference tournament. Gonzaga (30-2), which has won six consecutive WCC titles, will look for its seventh straight Tuesday, when it will face the winner of Monday’s late semifinal between San Diego and St. Mary’s. Rui Hachimura scored 16 points, Brandon Clarke added 15 and Josh Perkins and Corey Kispert each scored 11 for Gonzaga. The Bulldogs — who came into the game ranked first in the nation in field-goal percentage (53.4 percent), first in scoring margin (24.9 points per game) and first in scoring offense (89.8) — went 39 for 62 (59.7 percent) from the field en route to their 21st straight victory by double digits. Gonzaga has won those games by an average margin of 30.1 points. The Bulldogs have won 37 straight against Pepperdine, including a 92-64 blowout in Spokane this season. The Waves (16-18) were led by Colbey Ross, who scored a game-high 20 points. Eric Cooper Jr. added 16 points, while

Southern Conference • Nathan Hoover is the guy who never stops competing in Wofford practices regardless of the situation. That feistiness carried over to the Southern Conference Tournament championship game. The junior guard scored all 20 of his points in the second half on five-of-six shooting from the field and went eight of eight from the foul line as No. 20 Wofford battled back to defeat UNC Greensboro 70-58 to win the conference tournament title and earn an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. “That’s the way I grew up — whatever you do, you do with all you got,” Hoover said. Tournament MVP Fletcher Magee also scored 20 points and Cameron Jackson had 15 points and seven rebounds as Wofford (29-4) completed a perfect season against conference foes, going 18-0 in the regular season and winning three games in three days in the tournament. It’s the fifth time in 10 seasons that Wofford will play in the NCAA Tournament — and coach Mike Young knows this is his most talented team. Francis Alonso scored 21 points and Isaiah Miller had 19 for UNC Greensboro. MAAC • Asante Gist had 22

points, Tajuan Agee added 18 and top-seeded Iona defeated Monmouth 81-60 to win the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title for the fourth straight time. Iona (17-15) is the first men’s team to win four straight league titles and has won 10 straight games heading into the NCAA Tournament. The Gaels were the top seed for the 10th time and have won four of their 12 conference titles as the No. 1 seed. The top seed had not won the tournament since Siena in 2010, the longest drought of any conference in the country. E.J. Crawford had 15 points, Ben Perez 14, and Rickey McGill 10 for Iona. McGill, the only player to be on four conference champions in league history, was named tournament MVP.


Jon Harris is out as coach at SIUEdwardsville • Southern Illinois-Edwardsville says it won’t renew the contract of basketball coach Jon Harris. Harris was 31-88 over four seasons. The Cougars were defeated last week in the first round of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament. Athletics director Brad Hewitt says the school will search for a coach who has led a program and has Division I experience under “high-quality mentors.”

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25.

Gonzaga (41) Virginia (23) North Carolina Kentucky Duke Michigan St. Texas Tech Tennessee LSU Michigan Houston Florida St. Purdue Nevada Kansas St. Virginia Tech Kansas Buffalo Wisconsin Wofford Maryland Auburn Marquette Cincinnati Villanova

Rec. 29-2 28-2 26-5 26-5 26-5 25-6 26-5 27-4 26-5 26-5 29-2 25-6 23-8 28-3 24-7 23-7 23-8 28-3 22-9 28-4 22-9 22-9 23-8 25-6 22-9

Pts Pvs 1572 1 1559 2 1474 3 1373 6 1298 4 1226 9 1211 8 1200 5 1089 10 1041 7 963 12 856 14 831 11 684 17 680 18 625 15 602 13 539 19 466 21 387 22 319 24 268 — 109 16 108 20 80 23

Others: UCF 62, VCU 53, Mississippi St. 37, Utah St. 34, New Mexico St. 16, Louisville 11, Murray St. 11, Iowa St. 8, Temple 4, Clemson 3, Liberty 1.

COACHES TOP 25 POLL 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25.

Gonzaga (28) Virginia (4) North Carolina Kentucky Duke Texas Tech Michigan St. Tennessee LSU Houston Michigan Purdue Florida St. Kansas St. Virginia Tech Buffalo Nevada Kansas Wisconsin Wofford Maryland Marquette Cincinnati Auburn Villanova

Rec. 29-2 28-2 26-5 26-5 26-5 26-5 25-6 27-4 26-5 29-2 26-5 23-8 25-6 24-7 23-7 28-3 28-3 23-8 22-9 28-4 22-9 23-8 25-6 22-9 22-9

Pts Pvs 796 1 772 2 735 3 684 6 632 4 610 8 590 11 557 4 515 10 496 12 494 7 471 9 426 13 406 17 304 16 289 20 277 18 267 14 246 21 191 22 136 24 105 15 104 19 76 — 65 23

Others: UCF 27, Mississippi State 26, VCU 21, Utah State 19, Hofstra 13, Arizona State 11, Washington 11, Murray State 10, Iowa State 8, Louisville 3, Seton Hall 3, Liberty 2, Baylor 1, UC Irvine 1.


Connecticut’s Napheesa Collier basks in confetti after the Huskies won the AAC tournament.

Collier leads Connecticut to AAC title, named MVP Napheesa Collier scored 25 points and pulled down 14 rebounds as No. 2 Connecticut beat Central Florida 66-45 Monday in Uncasville, Conn., to win its sixth straight American Athletic Conference tourney championship and the league’s bid to the NCAA Tournament. Collier, who went to Incarnate Word Academy, set an AAC record by scoring 85 points during the Huskies’ three games and was named tournament MVP. The double-double Monday was her 20th this season and the 44th of her UConn career. Christyn Williams had 13 points and Crystal Dangerfield added 12 for the Huskies (31-2), who are 120-0 against AAC foes since the league was formed in 2013. Olivia Nelson-Ododa, who started her fourth straight game in place of injured Katie Lou Samuelson, had seven points and 11 rebounds. “Having Lou out is really hard, but it gave Olivia a chance to prove herself to us and I think she did that this weekend,” Collier said. “She did everything we needed her to and Christyn did the same. As hard as it is, it gave them good minutes and when Lou’s back it will have them even more ready.” Lawriell Wilson scored 12 points for UCF (26-6). Other league tourney title games: Big 12 • Kalani Brown had 17 points and seven rebounds to help No. 1 Baylor defeat No. 13 Iowa State 67-49 in Oklahoma City for an NCAA tourney bid. Brown, a 6-foot-7 senior center, was named the tournament’s most outstanding player. Chloe Jackson scored 16 points and Lauren Cox added 14 for the Lady Bears (31-1), who outscored the Cyclones 19-5 in the fourth quarter en route to winning their ninth league tourney title in the 11 years. Alexa Middleton’s 18 points led the Cyclones (25-8). Bridget Carleton, the Big 12 player of the year, was held to 13 points. She made only six of her 16 shots. Metro Atlantic Athletic • Jen Fay had 25 points and 13 rebounds, Aryn McClure added 18 points, and top-seeded Quinnipiac beat Marist 81-51 in Albany, N.Y to gain an NCAA Tournament berth. Quinnipiac (26-6) has won 21 straight games, second in the nation behind No. 1 Baylor. Grace Vander Weide led Marist (23-10) with 25 points. Associated Press

New Tigers defensive assistant Gibbs emphasizes takeaways MU • FROM B1

“I don’t know if I want to say that too loud around here,” Gibbs said last week after a spring practice. That day, Oct. 6, 1990, Gibbs’ Buffaloes scored the game-winning touchdown on a play that never should have happened, after officials mistakenly lost track of the downs as the Buffs neared the goal line. Colorado not only ran the deciding play on play on fifth down, but the touchdown, quarterback Charles Johnson’s 1-yard keeper, probably wouldn’t have held up under current instant replay rules — Johnson rolled on his back short of the goal line. Nearly 30 years later, Gibbs treads those waters carefully, knowing where he collects his paycheck. Now that he wears Mizzou’s black and gold, he’s obligated to reshape his view of history. “Of course, Missouri got screwed that game. There’s no doubt about it,” he said, laughing. “But I still have my national championship ring.” Jokes aside, Tigers coach Barry Odom is thrilled with Gibbs’ addition. Odom needed to fill a spot on his staff when his younger brother Brian left for Oklahoma, where he’ll coach the Sooners’ linebackers in the Odoms’ home state. Rather than hire someone to replace Brian’s specific duties — he coached the strongside linebacker position — Odom reshuffled staff assignments when he landed Gibbs, a far more experienced secondary coach with coordinator experience. Ryan Walters will continue to serve as


“You achieve what you emphasize,” new Mizzou assistant coach David Gibbs says.

coordinator but rather than coach both safeties and cornerbacks, he’ll manage the players at Mizzou’s three safety positions (strong, free, boundary) while Gibbs takes on the cornerbacks. Gibbs was Texas Tech’s coordinator the last four years, after a two-year stint as coordinator at the University of Houston. He’s worked at five other major college programs, including a one-year stop as coordinator at Auburn in 2005, and coached on three NFL staffs — in Kansas City, Denver and Houston. Texas Tech isn’t known as the vanguard

program of defensive football — Gibbs wasn’t retained after coach Kliff Kingsbury was fired following a 5-7 season — but his defenses were known for creating extra possessions. From 2015-18, Gibbs’ defenses ranked between Nos. 77-126 in yards allowed per play and were among the nation’s worst measured by pass defense efficiency, ranging from No. 90 to 121. But more often than not, his defenses excelled at forcing turnovers. In his six years as a coordinator at Houston and Texas Tech, Gibbs’ defenses ranked No. 1 (2013), No. 6 (2017), No. 11 (2014) and No. 24 (2015) in takeaways. “I guess he carries around a lucky charm,” Odom said, “because he’s always able to create turnovers.” The charm is working at Mizzou. On what Gibbs called Takeaway Tuesday, the Tigers snatched several interceptions during live drills last week, a trend Mizzou players insist wasn’t by coincidence. “I don’t know if there’s a magic formula, but he’s got a certain technique he uses that he’s had a lot of success with,” cornerback Christian Holmes said. “He’s going to keep using it until it fails.” “It’s all emphasis,” Gibbs said. “You achieve what you emphasize.” Tasked with facing some of nation’s most explosive offenses the last four years, Gibbs sounded relieved to leave the Big 12 when the subject came up last week. There might be no more sobering experience than coaching defense in the Big 12. “I got my butt kicked a lot,” said Gibbs, son of longtime NFL offensive assistant Alex Gibbs, whose best years were spent

coaching the Broncos’ offensive line. “We weren’t very good, but it made me a better coach. … Coaching defense in college football is hard. Unless your defensive players are as good or better than the offense, you’re in for a long Saturday. The truth is ... when you line up most Saturdays you’re not as good as the offense you’re playing against. “It comes from peewee football to middle school to high school, all the better players, all the good athletes are playing on offense. That’s just what they do. When you get to college, there’s a lot more offensive players than defense.” For now, he’s happy to have what might be the best returning tandem of cornerbacks in the Southeastern Conference. DeMarkus Acy was a second-team AllSEC selection last year, when he ranked fourth in the league with 13 passes defended (three interceptions, 10 breakups). At times, Holmes was even better and finished second in the SEC with 12 breakups to go along with two interceptions. Gibbs helped recruit both cornerbacks at Texas Tech and paid an in-home visit to Acy during his senior year of high school in Dallas. “To take some slack off (Walters) and let him worry about his game plan, Coach Gibbs is a great guy to fill that void in my opinion,” Acy said. “He’s been there and coached a lot of DBs and seen a lot of players come in and out. I couldn’t ask for anything more.” Not even some extra downs. Dave Matter @dave_matter on Twitter dmatter@post-dispatch.com