DENVER (AP) -- Luiz Lemes scored 16 of his 18 points in the
second half, helping BYU hold off Wyoming 79-74 Thursday in the
quarterfinals of the Mountain West tournament.
BYU, the No. 2 seed, will meet Utah in Friday's semifinals.
Utah, the third seed, beat San Diego State 75-69.Rafael Araujo added 17 points and 14 rebounds for BYU (21-7),
and Mark Bigelow and Mike Hall each had 13 points. It was the
Cougars' ninth straight win.Mikel Watson had 21 points and Jay Straight 11 to lead Wyoming
(11-17), the No. 7 seed.BYU, which led 32-27 at halftime, mounted a 13-5 run, including
six points by Hall and five by Lemes, to forge a 52-40 lead midway
through the second half.Wyoming responded with eight straight points, capped by Watson's
two free throws, to cut the deficit to 57-53 with 5:28 remaining.
The Cowboys got within four points on eight other occasions down
the stretch but could get no closer.Araujo scored nine points in the final 8:32, including a jump
hook with 4:38 left and two free throws with 3:00 to go.Lemes hit a driving layup with 3:33 left and added a pull-up
jumper in the lane with 2:30 to go, which put BYU up 69-63.Wyoming was forced to foul, and the Cougars hit 7-of-8 free
throws in the final minute.Araujo, Bigelow and Jake Shoff each scored eight points in the
first half for BYU. Wyoming kept the score respectable despite
shooting only 31 percent and committing nine turnovers.The Cougars used an 8-0 run to build an early 14-7 lead. Araujo
started the surge with a rebound layup, then ended it with a short
jumper.Three minutes later, Shoff's jumper gave BYU its biggest lead,
18-10.Wyoming twice cut the deficit to four points, the last time on
Straight's driving layup with 5:23 remaining.But Shoff, a bench player who averaged only 2.4 points this
season, countered with back-to-back baskets, and BYU led 26-18.Araujo, the conference's co-player of the year, sat out the last
4:10 of the half after picking up his second foul.