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Cardinal beats nemesis for Pac-10 title

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Published March 14, 2004

LOS ANGELES - Stanford got its swagger back against the team that took it away.

Matt Lottich had 20 points, six rebounds and five assists, and second-ranked Stanford defeated Washington 77-66 Saturday to win its first Pac-10 tournament title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the 10th consecutive season.

"You got to love Matt Lottich," Stanford coach Mike Montgomery said. "He's got so much pride in himself and so much competitiveness. He made some huge shots, as always."

The Cardinal (29-1) is virtually assured a top seed when the pairings are announced today, along with a trip to Seattle for its first game.

"You take a great deal of pride if we should happen to go into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 1 seed," Montgomery said. "It also means zippo starting next week."

The players donned white caps proclaiming them champions while fans chanted "six more wins" - the number Stanford needs to win the national championship.

A week ago, Washington spoiled Stanford's bid for a perfect season with a 75-62 victory in Seattle. The loss knocked the Cardinal from the No. 1 ranking, which it is likely to regain after previously unbeaten Saint Joseph's lost to Xavier by 20 in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals.

The second-seeded Huskies (19-11) desperately wanted to win their first conference tournament title to get into the NCAAs without contention. Now, their fate lies in the selection committee's hands. But their chances appear good since they've won 14 of 17.

America East

VERMONT 72, MAINE 53: Taylor Coppenrath, out since Feb. 15 with a broken wrist, returned to score 43 for the host Catamounts.

While Vermont got back Coppenrath, Maine lost Mark Flavin, its top scorer, who played only four minutes because of an injured leg.

"Coppenrath was amazing" were Maine coach John Giannini's first words after the game.

Weak defense in the first half couldn't stop the 6-foot-9 forward, he said.

"What we did in the second half was obviously effective; it got us a chance to make the game competitive," he said.

Maine took a 10-8 lead, then the Catamounts outscored the Black Bears 32-13 before halftime and the Bears never caught them.

Atlantic 10

XAVIER 58, DAYTON 49: In Dayton, Ohio, Dedrick Finn picked up the slack on a bad shooting night for the Musketeers, hitting a jumper and two free throws down the stretch to help clinch an NCAA Tournament berth for the fourth year in a row. Xavier did not dominate like it had in three tournament games won by an average of 23 points. Included was a stunning 87-67 rout of No. 1-ranked Saint Joseph's in the quarterfinals.

Finn, a sophomore reserve, scored 11 - none bigger than when he broke a tie at 47 with a quick 12-foot jumper off the dribble with 3:34 left that gave the Musketeers the lead for good. They had trailed by as many as seven points early in the second half.

After Lionel Chalmers, voted the tournament's outstanding player, made two free throws to push the lead to four, Dayton missed two shots from the field. The Flyers (24-8) missed their final 11 shots and didn't have a field goal over the final 81/2 minutes.

Big East

NO. 9 UCONN 61, NO. 6 PITT 58: Junior guard Ben Gordon scored 29 and had a record 81 for the tournament as the Huskies won their second title in the past three years at Madison Square Garden in New York. UConn rallied behind Gordon, the MVP, from 11 down in the second half, giving the Huskies their record-tying sixth conference title.

Connecticut center Emeka Okafor, the 6-foot-10 conference player of the year who did not play in first two tournament wins because of back spasms, started.

Mid-American

W. MICHIGAN 77, KENT ST. 66: Mike Williams scored 28 and picked the perfect time to make his first career 3-pointer, leading the Broncos to the title in Cleveland. Williams, the MAC player of the year, made a backbreaking 3-pointer with 55 seconds left. Williams, who had missed his six 3-point tries in four years, was named the tourney's MVP.

Anthony Kann added 17 points and Ben Reed 16 for Western Michigan, whose first-year coach, Steve Hawkins, will have the team back in the NCAAs for the first time since 1998.

ALABAMA ST. 63, ALABAMA A&M 58: In Birmingham, the Hornets won their second conference title in four seasons and advanced to the NCAAs for the first time since 2001, when they fell to Michigan State in the first round.

Xavier Oliver led the Hornets with 16 points and eight rebounds, tournament MVP Malcolm Campbell added 14 points, and Kevin Spicer had 13.

NEVADA 66, UTEP 60: Kirk Snyder led the Wolf Pack to the title despite a terrible shooting performance, scoring the go-ahead basket with 3:14 left. It's the first trip to the NCAAs for Nevada since 1985 - and just the third overall. Snyder, the conference player of the year, finished with 11 points on 3-for-13 shooting and 14 rebounds, while Todd Okeson added 14 points. Nevada (23-8) shot just 31 percent but held the Miners to just two free throws in the final 3:32.

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