Top-Seeded Utah State Knocked Off By Fourth-Seed Boise State, 88-78, In WAC Semifinals
March 14, 2008
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Fourth-seeded Boise State knocked off top-seeded Utah State, 88-78, Friday in the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament at New Mexico State's Pan American Center.
The loss snaps USU's six-game win streak as the Aggies are now 24-10 while Boise State improves to 24-8 and advances to Saturday's championship game.
It was just the second loss in the last nine semifinal appearances for the Aggies, halting USU's conference championship game streak at three in a row after Utah State had played in the previous two WAC title tilts since its been a conference member.
Senior All-American guard Jaycee Carroll led USU with 20 points, hitting 6-of-12 three-pointers. The Evanston, Wyo., becomes just the 58th player in NCAA history to eclipse the 2,500 point plateau as Carroll now has 2,507 points. It was Carroll's 12th 20-point game in his last 13th outing while USU is now 19-5 this season and 47-11 all-time when Carroll nets at least 20 points.
Newbold, a Payson, Utah native, has played three games in the Pan American Center this season and is averaging 18.3 ppg in the arena, making 14-of-19 triples.
Junior forward Gary Wilkinson (South Jordan, Utah) tossed in 12 points and tied DuCharme with seven boards each for game-high rebounds. After not being out-rebounded in the previous five games, USU had fewer rebounds for the second night in a row after BSU had a 32-28 advantage Friday.
Senior guard Kris Clark (Wilmington, N.C.) dished out a game-high seven assists, padding his single-season school record assists mark, as he now has 219 helpers.
The Broncos were led by 23 points apiece from Matt Bauscher and Reggie Larry as Bausher hit 5-of-6 behind the arc. Aaron Garner hit 3-of-4 treys to finish with 14 points, matching Tyler Tiedeman's 14 points, who hit 7-of-8 free throws in the final 3:33 to thwart the Aggies' rally.
Both teams made 28 field goals including 11 three-pointers each, but the difference was at the free throw line as the Aggies were 11-of-12 (91.7 percent) at the free throw line, while the Broncos were 21-of-26 (80.8 percent).
BSU hit 11-of-21 (52.4 percent) from three-point range, a better percentage behind the arc than inside it, making 50.9 percent (28-of-55) field goal shooting.
USU was 28-of-57 (49.1 percent) from the field, including 11-of-25 (44.0 percent) from three-pointers, tying a season-high for the Aggies.
A baseline jumper by DuCharme gave USU an 11-7 early lead, but Boise State battled back before a Carroll triple from the top of the arc sparked a 7-0 Aggie spurt. Freshman guard Pooh Williams (Federal Way, Wash.) capped the run with a layup to put USU ahead 31-24 at the 5:55 mark.
However, BSU closed out the half with an 18-6 streak to take a 42-37 halftime lead, as the Broncos improved to 17-2 when leading at the half while the Aggies fall to 1-7 when trailing at the break.
The Broncos bucked their lead to 53-41 on a Bausher layup and the lead swelled to 69-52 with 9:53 remaining on a Larry trey.
USU trimmed the deficit to 83-76 with 1:07 left on a trey from Clark but couldn't get any closer as BSU hit its free throws down the stretch to secure the win.
The Aggies, who are guaranteed an National Invitation Tournament berth due to its top seed in the WAC Tournament, will find out their postseason fate when the NIT selections are announced Sunday evening.
If Utah State is chosen to host a NIT game, ,men's basketball season ticket holders will have the option to reserve with payment the same seats they had during the regular season for the upcoming game. Those seats will be made available to renew for current season ticket holders online, (click on the season renewals box), beginning Monday from 8:00am thru 5:00pm. The Utah State ticket office, located in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum will be open Monday from 9:00am until 5:00pm for season ticket holders to renew their seats over the phone or in person with payment.
Any seats not renewed by Monday at 5:00pm will be released for sale to the public Monday night at 7:00pm online only at www.utahstateaggies.com. Fans can also purchase tickets by phone or in person at the Spectrum starting Tuesday morning at 9:00am.
Tickets are available through the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, online at www.UtahStateAggies.com and clicking on "tickets" in left column, or by calling 1-888-U-STATE-1 or (435) 797-0305.