Crean apologizes for tirade after IU's win vs. Michigan

March 12, 2013 

Indiana Coach Tom Crean said he has apologized to Michigan assistant Jeff Meyer for their heated exchange after Sunday's game.

Crean said during the Big Ten coaches conference call Monday that he apologized to Meyer over the phone on the way to the plane afterward. He said he wishes he had "never addressed anything after the heat of battle in a game, but I did and we move on. End of story."

The incident happened on the court after the Hoosiers beat the Wolverines 72-71 for the Big Ten title. Indianapolis TV station WRTV showed Crean being restrained as he yelled at Meyer: "You know what you did. You helped wreck the program. You helped wreck our program."

Crean was hired by Indiana in 2008 and inherited a program burdened by NCAA sanctions for violations under former coach Kelvin Sampson. Meyer served on Sampson's staff but was cleared of any major violations.

Michigan Coach John Beilein said he did not see the confrontation as it happened. He saw video of it on Monday morning and said Meyer "showed great poise" and called him "a great coach" who has helped rebuild the program "brick by brick, side by side, with me."

He also said, "Michigan is always going to win with class and they're going to lose with class. We're never going to use victory or defeat to vent ... any frustrations we're going to have."

No. 1 Gonzaga rolls to title

Kelly Olynyk had 21 points and 12 rebounds, and top-ranked Gonzaga bolstered its case for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament by routing Saint Mary's 65-51 in the West Coast Conference finals Monday night at Las Vegas.

Already headed to the NCAA Tournament for the 15th straight season, Gonzaga (31-2) sure had the look of a No. 1 seed, playing a superb game at both ends.

The deep Zags shot 52 percent, dominated inside and teamed up to hound Gaels leading scorer Matthew Dellavedova everywhere he went. Elias Harris added 19 points for Gonzaga, which had a 42-18 in the paint.

Saint Mary's (27-6) labored against Gonzaga's attacking defense, particularly after point guard Jorden Page injured his right knee midway through the first half.

Dellavedova struggled for the second straight game, scoring two points on 1-for-8 shooting, and the Gaels went 7-for-27 from three-point range.

Rowe leads MTSU women

Middle Tennessee's Ebony Rowe knew well what it was like to walk off the Summit Arena court after a difficult loss, having done so the last two seasons.

The junior out of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School made sure she didn't have to experience that feeling again Monday, scoring 20 points and grabbing 13 rebounds to lead the Blue Raiders to a 53-48 victory over Arkansas-Little Rock in the Sun Belt Conference championship game at Hot Springs, Ark.

Middle Tennessee (25-7) earned its fifth straight NCAA Tournament appearance with its first tournament title since 2010. Last season, the Blue Raiders lost in overtime to UALR before making the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team.

"It feels a lot better to know you're going to watch and you're name's going to get called, without a doubt," Middle Tennessee guard Kortni Jones said. "Last year, we were on pins and needles.

"... This year, we know our name will pop up."

Middle Tennessee found a way to rally from seven points down in the second half to return to the top of the conference it has ruled for a decade. The Blue Raiders will make their seventh NCAA appearance in the last eight years.

Rowe made four free throws during the closing run, and she hit 12 of 15 free throws overall in earning Most Valuable Player honors.

"I've been saying it all year, we're such a dangerous team because we know how to play together," Rowe said. "And we play really well together."

U of L women lose to Irish

Notre Dame is back in the Big East Tournament title game for a third straight season. Kayla McBride scored 17 points and Skylar Diggins added 14 to help No. 2 Notre Dame beat 16th-ranked Louisville 83-59 in the semifinals at Hartford, Conn.

The top-seeded Irish extended a school record with their 25th straight victory. Only top-ranked Baylor, which handed Notre Dame its only loss this season, has a longer active winning streak.

The Irish (30-1) led the Cardinals by six at the half before opening the second period with a 13-2 run to take command. Louisville Coach Jeff Walz got the play he wanted to start the second half when Antonita Slaughter had an open three — which she missed.

"It's a six-point game at the half and if that goes in it's a three-point game," he said. "We have some momentum in our favor. She couldn't make it then they started scoring some in transition. They did a really nice job in scoring when they needed to."

It only got worse for Louisville (24-8) as its deficit kept expanding. Notre Dame's lead ballooned to 31 before Louisville closed the gap against the Irish reserves.

Shoni Schimmel scored 20 points and Sara Hammond added 12 to lead the Cardinals, who were playing their final game in the Big East conference.

"It's been a good six years for me," Walz said. "They do a really nice job of putting on a good tournament here."

Baylor women win Big 12

Brittney Griner and top-ranked Baylor can now turn their attention to again winning the biggest prize.

Griner scored 31 points and the defending national champion Lady Bears won their third consecutive Big 12 Tournament championship, rolling past No. 23 Iowa State 75-47 at Dallas.

In a matchup of the Big 12's top two seeds, the Lady Bears (32-1) and their 6-foot-8 senior star easily earned another trophy in their dominating run through the Big 12.

Griner, already a two-time All-American, had 23 points by halftime, outscoring Iowa State by 10 points on her own.

Odyssey Sims added 20 points for Baylor, including three three-pointers in the first 4 minutes after halftime.

MVC commish outraged

The commissioner of the Missouri Valley Conference said he would rather have the tournament title game televised on the Food Network if CBS can't guarantee it will televise the entire game nationally.

Doug Elgin told The Associated Press on Monday that central and northern Illinois and all of Indiana didn't see the conclusion of Creighton's 68-65 nail-biter over Wichita State. Wichita State shaved a 13-point deficit to one in the final minute and Malcolm Armstead missed a potential tying three-pointer just before the buzzer Sunday.

"They'll never be able to make this up to us," said Elgin, adding the conference had received "hundreds" of complaints from irate fans. "Our concern is our most important game of the year carries nationally — all of it. That's certainly what we bargained for."

CBS switched some viewers to the start of Indiana's victory at Michigan for the Big Ten title. The 10-team Missouri Valley has four schools in the areas that missed the finish of the championship game — Bradley, Illinois State, Indiana State and Evansville.

Conference honors

Louisville junior Gorgui Dieng, who was second in Big East play in rebounding (10.8) and blocked shots (2.8) was named the conference's defensive player of the year.

■ Michigan guard Trey Burke was named Big Ten player of the year by both a media panel and league coaches.

The media's All-Big Ten first team is Burke, Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller of Indiana, and Aaron Craft and Deshaun Thomas of Ohio State. The coaches went with almost the same exact group, except Michigan's Tim Hardaway Jr. replaced Craft.

Both the media and the coaches named Gary Harris of Michigan State freshman of the year and Bo Ryan of Wisconsin coach of the year.

■ Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart was The Associated Press Big 12 men's basketball Player of the Year. He was also named the league's top freshman.

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