Saturday, March 14, 2015

Wyoming: 2014-15 Mountain West Men's Basketball Champions


LAS VEGAS -- Josh Adams hit a big 3-pointer with a minute left and Wyoming earned its first trip to the NCAA tournament in 13 years with a 45-43 victory over San Diego State in the Mountain West Conference championship Saturday.
Wyoming (25-9) labored through a physical, defensive-dominated second half, keeping the Aztecs within reach despite going 8:31 without a field goal. The Cowboys made 5 of 22 in the half, but Adams had the biggest one with 1:02 left, a 3-pointer that put Wyoming up 43-41.
San Diego State (26-8) missed two shots and Derek Cooke Jr. hit two free throws to put the Cowboys up four with 7 seconds left.
The Aztecs' Malik Pope scored on a putback with less than a second left, but Wyoming was able to get the ball in cleanly to earn its first conference tournament championship since 1988, as a member of the WAC.
Larry Nance Jr. had 14 points and Adams had 10.
Pope had 13 points and JJ O'Brien added 12 for the Aztecs, who must wait until Selection Sunday to see if they're in the NCAA Tournament.
The Cowboys rode into the Mountain West tournament likely needing to earn the automatic bid after limping to the finish of the regular season.
Wyoming was in decent shape until Nance missed four games due to mononucleosis and lost five of its final eight games as he tried regain his strength.
The Cowboys had won three games since 2006 in the MWC tournament, but edged Utah State in their tournament opener, then upset top-seeded Boise State in overtime in the semifinals.
San Diego State won the two meetings during the regular season, though one of those was when Nance was out.
The Aztecs came out flat in the rematch, missing nine of their first 10 shots as the Cowboys opened the game with a 14-2 run.
Wyoming made 8 of 10 to open, building a 22-13 behind Nance, who had 12 points by halftime.
But for all that went wrong early for the Aztecs, they managed to claw their way back, pulling within 28-25 by halftime.
San Diego State had a repeat start in the second half, missing eight of its first nine shots.
The Aztecs made up for it on defense, forcing the Cowboys to miss their first eight shots before Adams hit a 3-pointer at 11:29. They also did a much better job of keeping Nance in check; Wyoming's leading scorer didn't take his first shot of the second half until the 9-minute mark.
Wyoming's defense was solid, though, allowing the Cowboys to keep San Diego State within reach in the back-and-forth game.
TIP INS
Wyoming: The tournament title was the first in any sport by Wyoming in the Mountain West Conference. ... The Cowboys shot 35 percent.
San Diego State: The Aztecs were in the title game for the sixth time in seven years. ... SDSU went 6 for 24 in the second half and shot 32 percent overall.
UP NEXT
Wyoming plays in the NCAA tournament.
San Diego State has to wait for Selection Sunday to see if it gets a spot in the NCAA tournament.
Post a Comment