Babbitt rescues UNR in WAC opener

RENO — Freshman Luke Babbitt scored a career-high 30 points to help UNR avoid a first-round exit from the Western Athletic Conference Tournament.

The second-seeded Wolf Pack committed 15 turnovers and was outrebounded but defeated San Jose State 78-69 in the quarterfinals Thursday.

Babbitt scored 11 of his points during the first five minutes of the second half, and Malik Cooke added 16 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots for UNR (20-11).

The Wolf Pack advanced to tonight’s semifinal against sixth-seeded Louisiana Tech, which defeated third-seeded Idaho, 70-62.

“It was a hard-fought game. We had to battle,” UNR coach Mark Fox said. “I didn’t think it was a thing of beauty, but we accomplished what we wanted to.”

Armon Johnson added 14 points and five rebounds for UNR, which was outrebounded by the Spartans, 33-31.

DeShawn Wright scored a career-high 22 points to lead San Jose State (13-17). C.J. Webster added 14 and Adrian Oliver 12 for the Spartans, who lost to UNR three times this season.

In other WAC tournament games, top-seeded Utah State beat No. 9 Fresno State 85-68 and No. 5 New Mexico State ousted No 4 Boise State 80-70.

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