'Big Blue' torments 'Pistol Pete' for $100

Updated: March 15, 2009, 5:04 PM ET
Associated Press

RENO, Nev. -- The mascots for Utah State and New Mexico State got physical with each other down the stretch of the teams' Western Athletic Conference tournament semifinal Friday night.

During a timeout with 7 seconds left and New Mexico State leading 70-69, Utah State's mascot, "Big Blue" the bull, confronted New Mexico State's "Pistol Pete" cowboy mascot and ripped off his fake mustache.

The cowboy then chased the bull to halfcourt, jumped on his back and tried unsuccessfully to pull him to the floor.

"Pistol Pete" then started to try to choke his rival before retreating to his end of the court.

Several newspaper photographers covering the game said they heard a man in a Nevada shirt offer the Utah State mascot $100 to go grab the mustache.

The man confirmed to The Associated Press that was true and that he paid the mascot the $100, but declined to provide his name. He said he did not expect New Mexico State's "Pistol Pete" to respond the way he did.

WAC commissioner Karl Benson was watching the game but said he missed the incident.

After fans for both teams started booing, Utah State's Tai Wesley caught an inbounds pass at the top of the lane and passed to Tyler Newbold on the left wing.

Newbold's 15-foot shot rolled off the rim, hit the backboard and rolled in with 3.1 seconds on the clock to help Utah State (29-4) overcome a 13-point deficit for a 71-70 win to set a school record for victories in a season.

Utah State, the league's regular-season champion, advanced to Saturday night's WAC final against second-seeded Nevada.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press