Utah State's run in Mountain West tourney ends in semifinals

Sheri Evans
March 11, 2018

After Joe Furstinger's mind-blowing career-high 23 points helped New Mexico for an 85-75 win over Wyoming, they thrashed Utah State Aggies 83-68 in the semifinal on Friday.

"We got enough stops down the stretch to keep them at bay", New Mexico coach Paul Weir said.

The third-seeded Lobos will play No. 5 seed San Diego State in the championship game on Sunday.

Sam Merrill led the way for Utah State with 17 points, while Koby McEwen scored 16 points and Julion Pearre had 13.

The second half got off to a frantic pace with the teams combing for 17 points in the first two minutes with the Lobos maintaining the upper hand.

The final game was a microcosm of the season for the University of Wyoming men's basketball team. "We were shooting ourselves in the foot right and left". "It started with one turnover and then we just got sped up, and that's exactly what they want you to do and that's what you can't do".

Initially, USU seemed poised to continue their magical run, utilizing a 12-0 run early in the game to take a 20-12 lead with 9:45 remaining in the first half.

The Lobos beat the Aztecs 79-74 during the regular season. New Mexico went 2-of-3 from behind the arc in the surge, as rebounds off the offensive glass sparked opportunities for New Mexico to gain the early advantage.

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Herndon led Wyoming with 19 points.

New Mexico are in great form, they have won their last seven games. "I don't know how many college coaches would have looked at me and (Dalton) and believe we could become what we did, but they believed in us".

USU was able to overcome deficits of 15 points in the first round against Colorado State and 13 points in the quarterfinals against Boise State, but couldn't bounce back from the seven-minute-plus scoreless stretch in the first half.

San Diego State pulled off a 90-73 blockbuster victory over No. 22 Nevada Wolf Pack in the conference semifinals on Friday night.

The Pokes' 48 percent from the field came from 25-of-58 shooting. SDSU had five players in double figures led by Devin Watson with 20.

But shortly after Wyoming battled back, the Lobos connected on three-straight trips down the floor to build the lead to seven at 66-59 nearly halfway through the half. That was the start of a four-game skid for the Aggies before they ran off three straight victories. "We rushed some things, but give New Mexico credit for staying the course with their game plan". USU is now (5-4x) in MWC tournament games.

The Mountain West championship game is here and it is a throwback of sorts for who will win the conference championship. That was also USU's last NCAA tournament. Ray Brewer won back-to-back titles in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, after Taylor Bern prevailed in 2014-15.

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