BALTIMORE — Delaware guard Devon Saddler is headed to the NCAA tournament. A few years from now, the kid just might find himself working as a basketball coach.
Saddler showed his prowess as a strategist in the closing seconds of the Colonial Athletic Association championship Monday night. The result was a 75-74 win over William & Mary that thrust the Blue Hens into the NCAA tournament for the first time in 15 years.
Delaware trailed by a point when coach Monte Ross gathered his team to draw up a play with 25 seconds left. Ross wanted to have Saddler, the Blue Hens’ all-time leading scorer, take the pivotal shot.
“The first thing he said was, ‘Get the ball inside to Bap,’” Ross said.
Carl Baptiste made the go-ahead layup with 10 seconds left, and not long after that the Blue Hens (25-9) were cutting down the nets at the Baltimore Arena to celebrate their fifth trip to the NCAA tournament.
Manhattan 71, Iona 68: In Springfield, Mass., George Beamon scored 16 points Monday night and the Jaspers (25-7) held off rival Iona for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title and its first berth into the NCAA tourney in a decade.
Wofford 56, Western Carolina 53: In Asheville, N.C., Karl Cochran scored 23 points, including two big free throws with 5.3 seconds left, as the Terriers (20-12) captured the Southern Conference title and a spot in the NCAA tournament for the third time in five years.
Gonzaga 70, Saint Mary’s 54: In Las Vegas, David Stockton had 18 points to help Gonzaga advance to the West Coast Conference championship game for the 14th straight year.
Gonzaga (27-6) crushed Saint Mary’s in two meetings during the regular season behind its defense and did it again in the WCC semifinals, holding the Gaels (22-11) to 37 percent shooting.
Gonzaga will face BYU in tonight’s final for an automatic NCAA tournament berth.
BYU 79, San Francisco 77, OT: In Las Vegas, Tyler Haws scored 24 points to lead the Cougars past the Dons in overtime.
Amphitheater High grad Tim Derksen had 11 points for San Francisco.
KU’s Embiid to sit first week of NCAA tourney
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas center Joel Embiid is expected to miss the first weekend of the NCAA tournament.
Embiid got a second opinion on his ailing lower back from a specialist in Los Angeles on Monday, and the school says the physician confirmed the original diagnosis of a stress fracture.
The school says Embiid’s treatment for the injury makes him “unlikely to play in the first weekend of the NCAA tournament.”
A potential top choice in the NBA draft should he choose to declare, Embiid sat out Kansas’ final two regular-season games, a home victory against Texas Tech and a road loss against West Virginia. The Jayhawks had already clinched the outright Big 12 title.