Jan 272004
 
Authors: Steve Latuda

The way things have been going this season in the Mountain West,

the conference could be renamed the Wild West.

With the back-to-back overtime games at CSU, the wacky finish to

Monday night’s New Mexico-Brigham Young game and the emergence of

the long time conference whipping boy Air Force, the MWC is

anything but over.

Air Force (14-2, 4-0 in the MWC)

Coach Joe Scott’s flyboys are quickly becoming the newest

Cinderella story in college basketball. On Monday, the Falcons

capped off a sweep of the Utah schools, Utah and BYU, by defeating

Utah 62-49. The win was a team-record 12th in a row.

The Falcons have not had a winning season since the 1977-78

season, but are almost guaranteed to post one this year and

possibly grab their first MWC conference title ever.

BYU (12-6, 2-3)

The Cougars lost a heart breaker Monday night to New Mexico, in

what could go down as possibly the best and wackiest game of the

MWC season so far.

After tying up the game with 4 seconds remaining a technical

foul was assessed when BYU’s Mark Bigelow ran onto the court after

teammate Kevin Woodberry’s tip-in.

New Mexico missed the two free throws, but the Lobos retained

possession. With star Danny Granger near the baseline under the New

Mexico basket, Troy DeVries threw the ball to him and Granger beat

BYU center Rafael Araujo to the basket, and put in the game winning

shot to stun the Cougars.

CSU (10-8, 2-3)

The Rams were able to pull out back-to-back overtime victories,

but will be without the services of center Matt Nelson, who

re-injured his knee in the Rams 89-83 victory over UNLV on

Monday.

New Mexico (11-6, 2-2)

New Mexico was fortunate to be on the winning end of that wacky

game with BYU, and now must use that momentum to carry them through

the rest of the season.

“That was a great college basketball game. Just in terms of how

competitive it was, each team just tried to take away the others

strengths and players making plays down the stretch,” Lobo head

coach Ritchie McKay said in a press release. “I am really pleased

with our guys and I credit BYU.”

San Diego State (11-8, 2-2)

After starting off 2-0 in conference play, the Aztecs have lost

two straight on the road and, like every other team in the

conference, must find a way to steal a game or two away from

home.

“You must win wherever you play,” head coach Steve Fisher said.

“This is a very good conference, and to win on the road would

definitely give us an edge.”

UNLV (9-6, 1-3)

After losing to CSU, the Rebels fell to last in the MWC, but

after playing their last three games on the road the team will get

to finally play their next two games at home.

“It feels like we have been on the road for about a month,” head

coach Charlie Spoonhour said. “I hope we can improve on the way we

have been playing when we get home.”

Utah (15-5, 3-2)

The Utes lost their second straight conference game Monday to

Air Force, and must find a way to win on the road.

The Utes have one of the youngest teams in Division I basketball

this season with just two seniors and no juniors on their roster,

so the younger guys must learn as they go.

Wyoming (9-9, 2-3)

Four words can explain how the Cowboys can improve in their

standing in the conference: Win on the road. The only bad news is

that their next two games are on the road against CSU and Air

Force.

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