March 12, 2005
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -
Nate Harris scored 21 points on 9-for-12 shooting and Cass Matheus scored 21 shooting 8-for-12 to lead Utah State past Cal State Fullerton 84-77 in the semifinals of the Big West tournament Friday.
The second-seeded Aggies (23-7) play No. 18 Pacific, the tournament's top seed, in Saturday night's finals. With a win the Aggies will go to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in the last eight years.
Last year's 25-4 team was denied an at-large bid after losing in the conference tournament semifinals.
Harris completed a three-point play to give Utah State its biggest lead of the game, 71-62, with 5:02 to play.
But Fullerton's Jermaine Harper made his fourth 3-pointer of the second half with 3:46 to play to bring the Titans within three, 71-68.
Harper took only 3-point shots, going 7-for-11 and scoring 21 points. Yaphett King had a game-high 26 for No. 3 seed Cal State Fullerton (19-10).
Utah State broke a full-court press that left Mattheus wide-open under the basket for a dunk to put the Aggies up 71-65 with 27.4 seconds to play.
Harris made a pair of free throws with 20.5 seconds left to seal the win.
Matheus had 15 points on 5-for-5 shooting in the first half to help the Aggies to a 34-33 lead at halftime.
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