DENVER (AP) -- Luke Nevill had the game of his life just hours
after he, his coaches and his teammates feared the 7-foot freshman
from Perth, Australia, was having a heart attack.
Nevill's season-high 29 points and 14 rebounds led Utah to a
74-70 upset of Brigham Young in the Mountain West Conference
quarterfinals Thursday night.
Nevill visited a Denver hospital in the morning after
complaining of tightness in his chest and only decided an hour
before tip-off that he'd even suit up.
He said he thought the adrenaline would help him feel better.
"To be honest with you, I thought he was having a heart attack
this morning," Utes coach Ray Giacoletti said. "He went down and
had shortness of breath. He kind of goes down to his knees and I
thought he was having some sort of heart issue.
"I think it scared everybody."
After exhaustive tests, no heart ailment was discovered and he
was cleared to play. Giacoletti said doctors think a rib in his
back that needed to be popped back into place might have been the
"I was improving all day," Nevill said. "When it came to game
time, I thought I was good enough to play. I used the adrenaline to
bypass the pain a little bit more."
Nevill's 29 points broke the tournament record for a freshman,
eclipsing the mark of 25 set by Matt Nelson of Colorado State in
Nevill sank 11-of-15 free throws and scored seven crucial points
for the Utes over the final 1:53, beginning with a three-point play
that put the Utes ahead for good at 67-66.
His short jumper with 12 seconds left made it 71-68.
After the teams exchanged free throws, the Cougars inbounded the
ball with 6.7 seconds left. Rather then let them try to send the
game into overtime with a 3-pointer, Utah's Ricky Johns fouled
Rashaun Broadus with 4.4 seconds left.
Broadus sank his first shot but missed his second one on
purpose, throwing the ball hard off the glass. The scramble for the
rebound under the net ended up with a jump ball and the possession
arrow belonged to Utah with two-tenths of a second left.
Broadus fouled Johnnie Bryant, who sank both shots for the final
margin and the Utes, who shut out Brock Reichner, the Cougars'
second-leading scorer with an 11-point average, celebrated their
second straight victory over their bitter rivals.
Next up for the sixth-seeded Utes (14-14) is seventh-seeded
Wyoming (13-17), which knocked off second-seeded Air Force 55-53.
They'll play Friday night at the Pepsi Center after league champion
San Diego State and UNLV square off in the other semifinal.
This is the first time in the 7-year history of the Mountain
West Conference that neither the No. 2 nor No. 3 seed will play in
the semifinal round.
Brigham Young (20-8) had a surprisingly good season under Dave
Rose, who took over after eight seasons as the Cougars' top
assistant when Steve Cleveland left for Fresno State.
Rose was named conference coach of the year after leading the
Cougars to a 12-4 conference mark, tied for second with Air Force,
a game behind San Diego State.
But the Cougars entered the Pepsi Center with a No. 55 RPI
ranking and a bubble status for the NCAA tournament, and their
quarterfinal failure means they'll probably head instead to the
"I'm not really educated on that," Rose said. "You just feel
bad that we aren't playing anymore. The more you win, the better
chance you have. But in this situation, we don't get to play
BYU shaved away a nine-point first-half deficit and took its
first lead since the opening minutes when Jimmy Balderson sank a
3-pointer to put the Cougars ahead 56-54 with 7:15 left.
BYU maintained the lead until Johns stole the ball from Lee
Cummard and scored a reverse layup while being bumped by Cummard
all the way to the basket. Johns sank the bonus to give Utah a
64-63 lead with 3:46 remaining.
Utah used a 23-11 rebounding edge to forge a 35-28 halftime lead
behind Nevill's 16 first-half points, but Nevill didn't shoot again
until just under nine minutes remained, when his basket put the
Utes up 52-49.