Tuesday , Mar , 08 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Four more schools earn trip to NCAA Tournament

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) – Old Dominion, Creighton, Gonzaga and
Niagara all earned bids to the NCAA Tournament Monday by winning their
conference tournaments.

Alex Loughton poured in 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Old Dominion
to a 73-66 overtime victory over Virginia Commonwealth in the championship
game of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament. Loughton connected on
12-of-19 field goals to help the top- seeded Monarchs (28-5) clinch their
first NCAA Tournament berth since 1997. That also marked the last time Old
Dominion won the CAA title. Kiah Thomas added 14 points in the victory and
Isiah Hunter chipped in 13 despite shooting just 3-of-16 from the floor.

In St. Louis, Johnny Mathies tied for game-high honors with 14 points as the
Creighton Bluejays earned an automatic berth into the upcoming NCAA Tournament
by winning the Missouri Valley Conference championship with a 75-57 victory
over the Southwest Missouri State Bears at the Savvis Center. Mathies went 5-
of-14 from the floor and added five assists for Creighton (23-10,) which won
the conference tourney for a record ninth time.

In Santa Clara, Adam Morrison scored a career-high 30 points as the 11th-
ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs won their seventh West Coast Conference Tournament
title with an 80-67 victory over the Gaels of Saint Mary’s-CA at the
Leavey Center. Morrison went 12-of-21 from the floor and added five
rebounds for Gonzaga (25-4,) which has played in eight straight WCC tourney
finals – winning six. The Bulldogs, which triumphed over SMC in the
championship game last year, earned an automatic berth into the upcoming NCAA
Tournament. Ronny Turiaf added 18 points, 14 boards and four blocked
shots, while Derek Raivio recorded 16 points for the Zags, who have won 12
straight games.

In Buffalo, Juan Mendez scored 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as Niagara
rolled to an 81-59 win over Rider in the championship game of the Metro
Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament at HSBC Arena. Lorenzo Miles added 16
points and Alvin Cruz finished with 14 points for the top-seeded Purple
Eagles (20-9), who received the MAAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament
with the victory. Niagara will be making its first trip to the NCAA
Tournament since the team’s only previous appearance in 1970. David Brooks
finished with seven points and nine assists in the contest.