What a win! This is the type of victory Utah really needed to build some confidence. They were down big early, worked their way back into the game, took what appeared to be a commanding lead and then squandered it down the stretch. Cue the meltdown and another Utah loss, right? Wrong. The Utes manned up, made the plays in the clutch and eeked out a 2-point victory in overtime to advance to the second round of the Mountain West Tournament.
Luke Nevill played a superb game for Utah, especially down the stretch in overtime. He had two massive dunks to put Utah up and then swatted the ball away in the closing seconds, preventing a possible game-winning bucket. On the night he finished with 26 points, two behind the game high 28 from J.R. Giddens. Shaun Green and Lawrence Borha also had solid games, as they scored 12 and 13 respectively. But the night belonged to Nevill, who stepped up big time in the overtime despite having 4 fouls. In fact, Nevill sat a good deal of the last part of the second half because of foul trouble, yet his impact on the court lifted the Utes to the victory and a second round showdown with UNLV -- who barely beat Utah a week ago in Las Vegas.
New Mexico, though, didn't go down without a fight. After building a solid early first half lead, the Lobos actually trailed for most of the rest of the game, before taking a slim lead in the overtime. The Utes actually stretched the lead to 11-points and led by 7 with less than 6 to go before the Lobos went on an impressive 12-5 run to tie the game at 72. Much of that run was orchestrated by J.R. Giddings' solid play. Yet even though he looked like the best player on the court out there, he couldn't lead to the Lobos to victory, as his lay-up rimmed out as time expired and the Utes began celebrating their 82-80 victory.
For Utah, though, they didn't celebrate long, as the team had to quickly turn around and prepare for their game tonight against UNLV. The Rebels got to the second round much like the Utes -- in dramatic fashion, however, their victory was far more controversial. Down 2 with only seconds left to play, Wink Adams drove inside, threw up an awkward shot and tied the game up. But that isn't where the controversy begins. Instead of just tying the game, the refs called a foul on TCU and with only 1 second left on the clock, he put the Rebels up by a point and TCU failed to score. The foul in retrospect looked like nothing more than a bit of bumping and definitely isn't the type of call you make in the final seconds of a close game. But they did and UNLV won, which makes Utah's quest for the Mountain West Championship that much harder.
Tonight's game is at 10:00 and will be broadcast both on CSTV and the mtn.
|L. Borha (G)||27||13||4-7||57.1||2-4||50.0||3-6||50.0||1||1||2||1||0||0||2||4|
|C. Brown (G)||29||2||0-4||0.0||2-2||100.0||0-1||0.0||2||2||4||3||0||0||2||3|
|L. Drca (G)||34||6||1-8||12.5||4-5||80.0||0-1||0.0||2||2||4||4||2||0||3||3|
|S. Green (F)||33||12||4-7||57.1||1-1||100.0||3-6||50.0||0||6||6||2||1||0||0||5|
|K. Tillie (F)||22||6||2-4||50.0||2-2||100.0||0-0||0.0||3||4||7||1||1||1||1||5|
New Mexico Players
|J. Wills (G)||8||0||0-1||0.0||0-0||0.0||0-0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|D. Gary (G)||22||14||5-6||83.3||2-2||100.0||2-3||66.7||0||1||1||4||0||0||2||5|
|J. Giddens (G)||44||28||9-16||56.3||10-15||66.7||0-1||0.0||1||16||17||3||1||1||4||0|
|R. Martinez (F)||27||12||4-7||57.1||2-3||66.7||2-4||50.0||1||2||3||1||1||0||0||3|
|D. Faris (C)||25||5||1-3||33.3||3-6||50.0||0-0||0.0||0||1||1||1||0||1||1||5|