New Mexico State wins title
RENO, Nev. — Jamhar Young spent the afternoon in front of the television watching other teams earn NCAA tournament berths.
He was determined to do the same for New Mexico State.
The 6-foot-5 junior point guard and tourney MVP scored 19 points to help New Mexico State snap top-seeded Utah State's 17-game winning streak with a 69-63 upset in the Western Athletic Conference title game last night.
"I was watching TV today and seeing all those teams saying, 'We're going dancing. We're going dancing,' " Young said. "So I just visualized it for us, and it is an amazing feeling."
Young scored consecutive baskets to spark a 14-4 run late in the game that turned a 51-46 deficit into a 60-55 lead for New Mexico State.
The night before, he hit a basket with 3.8 seconds left in the semifinals to knock off second-seeded Nevada, 80-79.
"I love to make big shots," Young said. "It's what I do. Coach calls my number and I love to be in the spotlight."
Troy Gillenwater added 15 points and Jonathan Gibson 14 for the Aggies (22-11), who had only five turnovers in a physical game to Utah State's nine.
Jared Quayle had 25 points, Nate Bendall 16 and Tai Wesley 13 for Utah State (27-7), which trailed 28-26 at the half en route to its first loss since Jan. 4.
"It's a tough loss," Utah State coach Stew Morrill said. "We knew we were in for a tough game. They just kept answering everything we did. That's a good team. They can do something in the NCAA tournament."
Morrill expects his team to be there, too, with an at-large bid, but knows there is no guarantee given the WAC's mid-major status.
"We won 17 games in a row, we won our league by three games, we got to the finals in this tournament," he said. "Our RPI is good and our strength of schedule is better than a lot of teams they are talking about."
LOUISIANA TECH 68, FRESNO STATE 66
Senior Shanavia Dowdell had 20 points and 19 rebounds and Jasmine Bendolph hit an 18-footer with 33 seconds left to help Louisiana Tech snap top-seeded Fresno State's 19-game winning streak with a 68-66 upset yesterday in the WAC title game.
Whitney Jones added 13 points and Tarkeisha Wysinger and Adrienne Johnson 10 each for the Lady Techsters (23-8), who had been to 25 consecutive NCAA tournaments until the streak ended in the 2006-07 season. They won the national championship in 1988 and were the runner-up in 1983, 1987, 1994 and 1998.
Hayley Munro had 15 points and Jaleesa Ross 14 for Fresno State (27-6), which shot only 34 percent from the field and was out-rebounded 49-35, but should still receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tourney.