Minutes after watching St. Mary’s beat Gonzaga in overtime, two things are apparent.
First, Patrick Mills might be the second fastest basketball player in the Bay Area right now behind Monta Ellis. Not only was he the only St. Mary’s player who seemed able to make a free throw in overtime, not only did he have 23 points, but he made the play of the game with 23 seconds left in regulation — intercepting a pass, flying coast-to-coast and using the rim as a shield on a layup from high off the glass. If anybody on No. 25 St. Mary’s is going to play in the NBA, it’s going to be Mills. The Australian point guard is fast, tough and a freshman. And he’s obviously the best player on a pretty decent Gaels squad.
As ready for prime time as Mills looked, McKeon Pavilion almost made the game difficult to watch on television. Granted, ESPN2 probably didn’t send their best cameras, sort of like how Fox sent their worst announcers to call nearly every game the Niners played this year. But McKeon was so dark that the game looked like it was played in 1994.
Even though the view wasn’t pretty, the game was fun to watch. St. Mary’s is now 19-3, and they’re going to make the NCAA Tournament. The Bay Area might have three teams go to the dance this year, and we all know the Warriors are going to have an entertaining next couple of months, at the very least. If the Bay Area wants some rays of sunshine on their sporting landscape, it’s going to have to be on the basketball court. A well lit court, hopefully.