11:30 PM ET, March 10, 2005
Lawlor Events Center, Reno, Nevada
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.
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||29-65 (.446)||27-64 (.422)|
|3P Made-Attempted||9-20 (.450)||1-7 (.143)|
|FT Made-Attempted||6-8 (.750)||17-26 (.654)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||21 (0/0)||13 (0/0)|