<
>

Blackburn sticks 12-footer for win

RENO, Nev. (AP) -- Boise State's Coby Karl scored 18 points but
his biggest shot of the night turned out to be the one he missed --
an errant free throw that Jermaine Blackburn grabbed and put back
in with 1.8 seconds left to shock Nevada 73-72.

"I'm speechless. It was a big-time shot," Blackburn said after
the eighth-seeded Broncos knocked off the league's regular season
champs Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the Western Athletic
Conference tournament.

"The ball just fell into my hands. When the ball lands in your
hands, you shoot it," he said.

Karl, the son of NBA Denver Nuggets coach George Karl, was
7-of-10 from the field, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range, as the
Broncos (15-17) snapped Nevada's 10-game winning streak to advance
to Friday's semifinals against fourth-seeded Fresno State (16-13).

Second-seeded UTEP (25-7) plays third-seeded Rice (19-10) in the
other semifinal Friday night.

Karl made the first of two free throws with 3.1 seconds left to
cut Nevada's lead to 72-71 before his second shot bounced high off
the back of the rim. Blackburn, who finished with 16 points,
grabbed it and made a 12-footer for the win.

"No one was giving us a chance but everybody stepped ahead and
played their (butts) off," Karl said.

"I thought that when I was at the line that we were going to
overtime and we would be in another fight," he said.

Nick Fazekas scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half for
Nevada (24-6). The Wolf Pack (Unranked ESPN/USA Today; No.24 AP) had rallied to take a 71-68 lead on
Kevinn Pinkney's free throw with 25 seconds left after trailing by
five with 5 minutes left in the game.

Mo Charlo scored 16 points, Jermaine Washington added 11 and
Chad Bell had 10 for Nevada, which was 1-for-7 on 3-pointers
compared to Boise's 9-of-20.

"We knew if they hit the 3, it would be a long game and that's
what they did tonight," said Fazekas, the WAC's leading scorer at
more than 21 points a game.

"I don't think we overlooked them. They are a legit team."

Boise State coach Greg Graham said holding Fazekas to two points
in the first half was key.

"I thought we made him work for everything tonight and that was
one of our goals," he said.

Boise State led 36-35 at the half and went ahead 61-57 on Eric
Lane's 15-footer with 8:41 remaining.

Trailing 68-63, Nevada freshman Ramon Sessions scored five
points during an 8-0 run capped by Pinkney's free throw.

Boise's Jason Ellis made two free throws to cut it to 71-70 with
13 seconds left and Charlo made the second of two free throws for a
72-70 lead.

"I give Boise credit for winning the game," Nevada coach Mark
Fox said.

Fox tried to find a positive in the loss and said he expects the
Wolf Pack to get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, where they
advanced to the third round last year.

"It's going to give us some rest, which we need," said Fox, a
former Nevada assistant in his first as head coach after Trent
Johnson left for Stanford a year ago.

"But if we're not in the tournament, I'm not going to be
coaching this team next year. I don't know where I'd be," he said.

Graham said "there's no question" Nevada should still make the
NCAA tourney.

"It would be ridiculous if they didn't make it. I think UTEP
should be in too," he said.