March 11, 2007
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Jaycee Carroll's three-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark, as fourth-seeded Utah State lost, 72-70, to second-seed and host New Mexico State, Saturday night in the Western Athletic Conference Championship game at Las Cruces, N.M.
Utah State had the ball out-of-bounds with 1.6 seconds left under its basket, and ran an inbounds play with Carroll passing to Chris Session, who handed back to Carroll for the trey attempt that came up short.
The Aggies had gotten the ball under their own basket after New Mexico State's inbounds pass sailed out-of-bounds at the other end, giving Utah State a chance.
Down 35-25 at halftime, Utah State battled back and took the lead for the first time the game at 47-46, as Carroll capped a 12-0 run with a bucket by Stephen DuCharme.
Carroll ended with 26 points, five below his average against NMSU at Pan American Center, but the third game in a row of the Tournament with at least 24 points. Carroll was named to the WAC all-Tournament Team, along with teammate Chaz Spicer, who had 13 points to go with a team-high seven rebounds. DuCharme ended the night with 16 points while Durrall Peterson added 15 points, draining five three-pointers.
USU shot 64.0 percent (16-of-25) in the second half to claw back from trailing by as much as 17 in the first half. The navy-clad Aggies ended the game 26-of-55 (47.3 percent) from the field, hitting 9-of-21 (42.9 percent) from three-point range.
At the free throw line, Utah State was a perfect 9-of-9.
New Mexico State was 28-of-59 (47.5 percent) field goal shooting, hitting 6-of-14 (42.9 percent) three-point shooting and were 10-of-11 at the charity stripe.
New Mexico State had four players in double-figures, led by Justin
Hawkins with 20 ponts, while Elijah Ingram tallied 18 to go with five
assists. Tyrone Nelson had 16 points while Ted Knauber chipped in
with 10 points, including hitting a pair of free throws with 12.2 seconds.
Carroll had a putback with 1.6 seconds left after a Peterson missed three to set up the final drama.
Utah State must await the NCAA Tournament announcement Sunday to find out its postseason fate.
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