RENO, Nev. (AP) -- Jaycee Carroll scored 18 points, including
five free throws in the final 23 seconds, to help Utah State beat
Louisiana Tech 68-64 Friday night in the semifinals of the Western
Athletic Conference tournament.
David Pak added 14 points and Nate Harris 13 -- including a
70-foot bank shot just before the halftime buzzer -- for the Aggies
(23-7), who have won seven of their last eight.Paul Millsap had 18 points and five blocked shots and Trey
McDowell added 14 points for Louisiana Tech (20-12). The Aggies
held Millsap to seven rebounds, about half his NCAA-leading average
of 13.5 per game and outrebounded the Bulldogs 31-30.The Aggies advance to Saturday night's finals against the winner
of Friday night's other semifinal between No. 21 Nevada (25-5) and
New Mexico State (16-13).Utah State led by as much as nine when Harris' free throws made
it 59-50 with 4:25 left in the game then withstood the Bulldogs'
late rally thanks to Carroll's 5-of-6 free-throw shooting down the
stretch.Pak's basket on a drive put Utah State ahead 63-55 with 2:12
left in the game. But Chad McKenzie made a pair of free throws and
Millsap scored inside to make it 63-59 with 1:20 remaining.After Millsap blocked a shot, Jerome Richardson missed two free
throws for the Bulldogs and Carroll made one for a 64-59.
McDowell's 3-pointer from the top of the key pulled Tech to within
64-62 with 16 seconds left.But Carroll made two free throws with 11 seconds left and after
Millsap's score off a rebound made it 66-64, Carroll made two more
free throws with 0.7 seconds on the clock to seal the victory.Harris made three-of-four field goals and all six free throw
attempts to go with seven rebounds and a blocked shot.Carroll and Harris each scored four points on an 8-0 run in the
first half to put Utah State ahead 24-16 with 4:10 left in the
half. The Bulldogs answered with a 9-2 run capped by McKenzie's
19-footer to pull within 26-25, but Harris beat the buzzer with the
70-foot 3-pointer to give the Aggies a 29-25 halftime lead.