MWC Tournament notes

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Mar 112004
 
Authors: Joshua Pilkington, Vince Blaser

Utah 75, San Diego State 69

A back-and-forth game went Utah’s way in the waning moments when

the Utes’ Nick Jacobson hit a clutch jumper in traffic with 2:40

remaining to cut a four-point San Diego State lead in half and send

the momentum Utah’s way. San Diego State guard Wesley Stokes fired

a 3-pointer off the mark and Utah’s Justin Hawkins converted a

three-point play on an offensive rebound to put the Utes up 68-67.

Aztec forward Aerick Sanders, who scored a team-high 18 points,

fouled out on the play and Utah never looked back.

“This was a microcosm of our season,” said San Diego State head

coach Steve Fisher, “Could’ve-would’ve-should’ve but didn’t.”

The Aztecs’ season is over while the Utes move on to today’s

semifinal game against Brigham Young.

“I’m just happy we got out of here with a win,” said Jacobson,

who scored a game-high 24 points, including seven 3-pointers.

Brigham Young 79, Wyoming 74

A posse of screaming cowboys embraced the Pepsi Center Thursday

afternoon, but they left with disappoint as their team couldn’t

pull the upset against the second-seeded Cougars.

With the score 79-74 and 20 seconds remaining, Wyoming guard and

first-team all-Mountain West Conference selection Jay Straight put

up a 3-pointer from the top of the key.

Coming out of nowhere, Cougar guard Kevin Woodberry blocked

Straight’s attempt cleanly and managed to dribble out the clock to

provide the game’s final margin. A nine-point favorite, BYU had a

scare in the second half as Wyoming used a full-court press to cut

a 12-point deficit (52-40) at the 9:13 mark of the second half to

four (65-61) with 3:05 to play.

“We had never seen that before,” said BYU guard Luiz Lemes who

scored a team-high 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field.

“It was pretty tough, but we did what we needed to.”

With both teams trading baskets, Wyoming forward David

Rottinghaus used a three-point play to cut a seven-point Cougar

lead to four (70-66) with 1:13 to go. Facing a 72-68 deficit with

less than minute to go, Wyoming was forced to foul and BYU

converted enough of its free throws down the stretch to ensure the

victory.

“Our free-throw shooting at the end was not great, but good

enough,” said BYU head coach Steve Cleveland.

The Cougars return to Pepsi Center tonight to face in-state

rival Utah in the semifinals at 7 p.m. BYU finished with four of

five starters in double figures in scoring with Lemes’ 18, Rafael

Araujo’s 17, Mike Hall’s 13 and Mark Bigelow’s 13. Araujo also

contributed a game-high 14 rebounds. Wyoming guard Mikel Watson

provided the offense for the Cowboys scoring a career- and

game-high 21, while Straight finished with 11 and guard Dion

Sherrell contributed 10.

 

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