RENO, Nev. (AP) - Tyler Newbold rolled in a 15-foot jump shot
with 3.1 seconds left and top-seeded Utah State overcome a 13-point
halftime to defeat New Mexico State 71-70 Friday in the semifinals
of the Western Athletic Conference tournament.
Gary Wilkinson scored a game-high 19 points and Tai Wesley and
Pooh Williams added 13 each for Utah State (29-4), which set a
school record for most wins in a season.
The regular season WAC champions advance to Saturday night's
final against the winner of Friday night's other semifinal between
second-seeded Nevada (20-11) and fifth-seeded Louisiana Tech
Jonathan Gibson had 16 points and Jahmar Young 15 for New Mexico
State (17-15), which turned an early 10-point deficit into a 47-34
halftime lead by making eight consecutive attempts from 3-point
Gibson scored 14 points in the first half but Newbold's tight
defense kept him from scoring in the second half until 1:42 was
left in the game.
It also was Newbold who got Utah State the ball back with 31
seconds on the clock when NMSU's Hernst Laroche missed the front
end of a one-and-one and Gibson grabbed the rebound. But Newbold
tied him up for a jump ball and the possession arrow favoring Utah
Wesley missed a short hook in the lane with 7 seconds left, but
NMSU's Chris Gabriel swatted the ball out of bounds. Wesley caught
the inbound pass at the top of the lane and passed to Newbold on
the left wing. His 15-footer rolled off the rim, hit the backboard
and rolled in for the victory.