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March 9, 2007
Chaz Spicer hit two free throws with 2.5 seconds left and Utah State took advantage of an intentional foul call to beat No. 10 Nevada 79-77 in the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference tournament Friday night.
Utah State (23-10) beat Nevada for the second time in a week to move into Saturday's championship game against the winner of the New Mexico State-Boise State semifinal late Friday.
Nevada (28-4) is assured of its fourth straight NCAA tournament bid, but the loss could hurt the Wolf Pack's seeding.
Spicer, whose two free throws with 3 seconds left in overtime beat Nevada 79-77 last week in Logan, did it again. He was fouled by Nevada's Matt LaGrone on a drive to the basket in which it looked like he might have traveled. With the Nevada crowd yelling for a travel call, Spicer calmly hit both free throws.
Nothing new for Spicer, who went 6-for-6 at the line in the game, has hit 30 of his last 32 free throws and has won four games for the Aggies this season with his late scoring. He finished with 20 points.
Nevada center Nick Fazekas got the inbounds pass to guard Ramon Sessions, but Sessions' desperation 30-footer didn't come close.
Utah State led 77-72 with 32.2 seconds left after the Aggies' Chris Session hit two free throws.
But Nevada's Marcelus Kemp hit a 3-pointer with 24.2 seconds left, and after Utah State turned it over, Kemp picked up the loose ball and tied it at 77 with a short shot in the lane.
The call that turned the game around came in the midst of a 10-0 Utah State run that erased a 57-50 Nevada lead.
Utah State guard Jaycee Carroll, who led the Aggies with 24 points, scored eight of the 10 points, including the free throws after the intentional foul call on Sessions.
The run started with Carroll hitting three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point shot by Nevada's Lyndale Burleson. Burleson started in place of Kyle Shiloh, who injured a hamstring in the Wolf Pack's win over Idaho on Thursday.
The 6-foot-11 Fazekas, the three-time WAC player of the year, posted his 20th double-double of the season with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Fazekas hit eight of 10 shots and Kemp scored 24 points and was 5-for-8 on 3-pointers. But it wasn't enough to keep the Aggies from posting one of their biggest wins in recent history.
A 3-pointer by Kemp tied it at 66-66 with 3:09 left, but Utah State regained momentum on back-to-back 3s by Durrall Peterson.