After trailing by 20 points at halftime, the BYU women’s team comes back to stun No. 14-ranked Utah 57-50 in the MWC semifinals. The game was tied at 50 when Erin Thorn hit a big 3-pointer with 58 seconds left to put the Cougars up for good. The Cougars’ defense held the Utes to just 10 points in the second half.
Three of the four previous Utah-New Mexico games had gone into overtime, so it wasn’t too surprising when it happened a fourth time in the first round of the MWC Tournament. The Utes blew a nine-point lead in regulation but came up big in overtime as Luke Nevill, who led the Utes with 26 points and eight rebounds, made a dunk with 21 seconds left to give Utah the lead, then blocked Darren Prentice’s shot with eight seconds left as Utah won, 82-80.
BYU left Las Vegas with a 27-7 record and a national ranking, but everyone remembers the ugly brawls in the stands after UNLV came from behind in the second half to beat the Cougars in the finals, 76-61. Wink Adams scored 14 straight points in the second half to lead the Rebel victory, while the Cougars got 17 points from freshman Jimmer Fredette off the bench.
Utah hangs on to beat BYU 54-51 in the semifinals, but afterward the talk is about the elbows of BYU center Rafael Araujo. He was whistled with a technical midway through the first half after his elbow grazed Utah’s Tim Drisdom. Afterward, Utah’s Nick Jacobson said of Araujo, “That guy is a walking cheap shot and then tries to put an innocent look on his face.”
Utah’s Morgan Warburton hits a running jumper with 2.7 seconds left to give Utah a 56-55 semifinal victory over New Mexico. Warburton, who had beaten the Lobos with a last-second 3-pointer earlier in the season, took the ball with 11 seconds left and dribbled up the floor. She thought about trying a 3, before driving up the middle and hitting a shot from about five feet out.
It may not have been his best shooting night (2 of 10 from 3-point range), but Jimmer Fredette’s 45 points vs. TCU smashed the MWC record for points in a game by 10. Fredette made 23 of 24 from the free-throw line as the Cougars came back from one-point halftime deficit to win 95-85 in a first-round game. As for his missed free throw, he said, “I’m still upset about that, to be honest. I’ll try to correct that . . . hopefully I’ll make it next time.”
Lawrence Borha hits a 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left to give Utah a 61-58 first-round victory over TCU. With the game tied, Utah point guard Luka Drca drove the middle and found Borha all alone in the left corner. The Utes went on to win the MWC Tournament with victories over Wyoming and San Diego State.
BYU breaks a five-year, 12-game losing streak against Utah with a stunning 58-54 victory over the Utes in the MWC semifinals. “This is a dream come true,” said Eric Nielsen, who had suffered through the 1-25 season three years earlier. Nielsen finished with a team-high 17 points, while Terrell Lyday chipped in 16 points. It was BYU’s first victory over Utah since January 1995.
Mekeli Wesley scores 30 points on a MWC Tournament record 11 of 12 from the field to lead BYU to a 69-65 MWC championship game win over New Mexico and BYU’s first NCAA berth in six years. Wesley earned MVP honors and said afterward, “We worked for four years to get to this point. This is a great moment for BYU. It’s a Cinderella story. It would have been hard to imagine we would be here four years ago.”
Nick Jacobson drains a fallaway 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left in Denver to give Utah a 73-70 victory and an improbable spot in the NCAA Tournament. After the Rebels had tied the game with 21 seconds left, Tim Drisdom worked the clock under 10 seconds, dribbled right, then reversed and found Jacobson coming off a pick on the left side. Jacobson finished with 22 points and was named the tournament MVP. The victory capped off a topsy-turvy season for the Utes that saw longtime coach Rick Majerus resign in late January and assistant Kerry Rupp take over.