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Mountain West Quarterfinals Recap

March 13, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

Mountain West Conference Quarterfinals Recap

Recap by Keith Irizarry

(8) Colorado State 60, (1) Air Force 48
The biggest shocker of the day came as the Cinderella story of the Mountain West just could not find its slipper. Air Force was defeated handily by the Colorado State Rams. The eight seeded Rams entered the game as a heavy underdog, but did not play like a sub-500 team. They started off the second half on an 18-3 run, and never looked back. Ronnie Clark had 14 and Dwight Boatner chipped in 11 points. Air Force was lead by Tim Keller’s 11 points. The Falcons, which was the conference’s rags to riches story, now has to sit back and hope they have done enough to warrant an at-large bid. They’ve been in the top 25 of many national polls and have a record of 22-6 overall. Is it enough to get into the tournament? The Falcons hope so and now will have to wait until Sunday to find out if they will be dancing.

(2) BYU 79, (7) Wyoming 74
The Cougars were able to do what they needed to do: win! BYU has now won 9 straight games and continue to be a team on a mission. Wyoming put up a valiant effort, but to no avail. Rafael Araujo led the way for BYU, as he popped in 17 points and 14 rebounds. Mark Bigelow and Mike Hall did what they needed to, as they added 13 points a piece. The big story in the second half was Luis Lemes, who had 16 of his 18 points in the second stanza. Every time the game got close, Lu would hit a big shot or make a fantastic play. With 5:23 left in the second half, the Cowboys cut the Cougar lead to just 4, but would never get any closer. BYU closed things out, 79-74. Mikel Watson had 21 points and Jay Straight chipped in 11 to lead Wyoming (11-17).

(3) Utah 75, (6) San Diego State 69
The Utes just may be a team of destiny. Once again they overcame lots of problems to corral a huge win. San Diego State’s pressure caused Utah to have 15 turnovers but the Utes, behind Nick Jacobson’s 7 three-pointers and 24 points, prevailed. The Aztecs actually led the game 65-62 late in the second half, but could not hold on. Aerick Sanders got nasty, banging 18 points before he would foul out. Utah got 14 points and 8 boards from sophomore guard, Richard Chaney as well as 9 and 12 from MWC Freshman of the Year, Andrew Bogut. At 22-8, Utah definitely has a nice resume, but you’d have to doubt that the MWC will get three teams into the tourney. MWC is the seventh ranked conference in the nation.

(4) UNLV 55, (5) New Mexico 53
Down 19 to 4 with 8 minutes left in the first half, most people would have shut the TV off, went to bed and said hasta la vista to the Runnin’ Rebels. Ahh, how foolish you would have been. The team from sin city made fools of many doubters last night. They had numerous big-time plays from just about everyone on the team. Romel Beck shoveled the path to victory with 23 points, including a huge bucket with 21 seconds left in the game. Demetrius Hunter knocked down all 3 of his three-pointers in the second half (and all of his 9 total points). The final score in this contest was 55-53, in favor of the Rebs. Everyone hyped the match up of the 2 studs, Danny Granger for New Mexico and Odartay Blankson for UNLV: how’d they do? Blankson was held in check with just 7 points on 1-7 shooting. Granger faired a little better, with 14 points and 8 rebounds.

UNLV’s 7 steals turned out to be a major factor, as did their three-point shooting. The Rebs were 7-16 from behind the arc and the Lobos were just 4-16. In the end, UNLV just outlasted New Mexico, and it leaves them asking the dealer to give them at least one more hand.

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