UCLA vs. Arizona; New Mexico vs. San Diego State: SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt says Las Vegas was the place to be for the prelude to March Madness.
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Fresno State defeated Colorado State 77-68 in the final of the Mountain West women’s basketball tournament. The victory assured the Bulldogs of their seventh consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.
There was about a minute remaining in UNLV’s basketball game against San Diego State on Friday evening when Aztecs fans began a popular chant for teams about to win on another’s court.
Kendall Williams hit a 3-pointer with 24 seconds remaining and New Mexico took down top-seeded San Diego State 64-58 in the Mountain West tournament championship at the Thomas & Mack Center.
In a game during which San Diego State was determined to take away UNLV’s big-man tandem of Khem Birch and Roscoe Smith, the Rebels’ guards had an opportunity to seize the moment and carry the team into the Mountain West tournament championship game. Didn’t happen. Never had a chance.
UNLV’s basketball team might over the next 24 hours be given the opportunity to continue a season that has delivered more disappointments than not, but the Rebels should deny any and all such inquiries.
Not that New Mexico needed any extra motivation. But when San Diego State’s win over UNLV went final, the Lobos knew what they had to do.
A Spalding sports equipment technician armed with lasers showed up recently at the Thomas & Mack Center — and he was on a mission. He was there to make sure the basketball rim and backboard support equipment were properly aligned and connected into a special Mountain West court floor. But he was also there to change Thomas & Mack’s look and convert the venue into a neutral site.
They could have played all day.
UNLV’s Khem Birch courageously played through pain and laid it all on the line. But the Rebels went out with a whimper anyway, getting knocked out of the Mountain West tournament Friday night while resembling a dispirited and dysfunctional mess in the process.