Southern Conference Championship: Stephen Who?

Joel Barker@joelabarkerSenior Writer IMarch 10, 2009

One week ago today, if anyone told you that a dude named Stephen was going to win the Southern Conference Tournament MOP, and first team all-tournament honors the easy guess would have been Stephen Curry of Davidson.

A strange thing happened on the way to the finals though. Curry and his Wildcats got shown the door by the College of Charleston Cougars.

On this championship Monday, it would be another Stephen who would steal the show.

Stephen McDowell led the host Chattanooga Mocs to their 10th SoCon Tournament Championship overall, and their first since 2005.

This Stephen has been Chattanooga's the leader on the floor all season long.

He didn't have the most points in this championship game. However, the 5'11" senior led the Mocs in rebounds, and assists.

He also threw in 15 points just for good measure to defeat College of Charleston and send the Mocs to the Big Dance to face, in all likelihood, a No. 1 seed. 

In three tournament games, this Stephen scored 64 points, had 15 rebounds, and 10 assists.

Still, this was not the Stephen that ESPN wanted to highlight in this game. That Stephen went home yesterday.

The game was a battle royale in the first half, as the teams were notted up at 34 going into the break.

But Chattanooga opened up the second half with a 20-0 run. That was followed by a 12-0 Charleston run.

The Cougars brought it to within five with about 10 minutes remaining, but playing on their home floor in front of a decidedly home crowd these Mocs, led by McDowell would not be denied.

The Mocs won 80-69, and will await selection Sunday to see which No. 1 or No. 2 seed they will play in the first round of the Big Dance.

One thing is certain; Stephen is dancing, it's just not the same Stephen everyone thought it would be. 

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