March 10, 2006
DENVER (AP) - Freshman Luke Nevill's season-high 29 points and 14 rebounds led Utah to a 74-70 upset of Brigham Young in the Mountain West Conference quarterfinals Thursday night.
Nevill visited a Denver hospital in the morning after complaining of tightness in his chest and only decided an hour before tip-off that he'd even suit up.
He said he thought the adrenaline would help him feel better.
Nevill sank 11-of-15 free throws and scored seven crucial points for the Utes over the final 1:53, beginning with a three-point play that put the Utes ahead for good at 67-66.
His short jumper with 12 seconds left made it 71-68.
After the teams exchanged free throws, the Cougars inbounded the ball with 6.7 seconds left. Rather then let them try to send the game into overtime with a 3-pointer, Utah's Ricky Johns fouled Rashaun Broadus with 4.4 seconds left.
Broadus sank his first shot but missed his second one on purpose, throwing the ball hard off the glass. The scramble for the rebound under the net ended up with a jump ball and the possession arrow belonged to Utah with two-tenths of a second left.
Broadus fouled Johnnie Bryant, who sank both shots for the final margin and the Utes, who shut out Brock Reichner, the Cougars' second-leading scorer with an 11-point average, celebrated their second straight victory over their bitter rivals.
Next up for the sixth-seeded Utes (14-14) is seventh-seeded Wyoming (13-17), which knocked off second-seeded Air Force 55-53. They'll play Friday night at the Pepsi Center after league champion San Diego State and UNLV square off in the other semifinal.
Brigham Young (20-8) had a surprisingly good season under Dave Rose, who took over after eight seasons as the Cougars' top assistant when Steve Cleveland left for Fresno State.
Rose was named conference coach of the year after leading the Cougars to a 12-4 conference mark, tied for second with Air Force, a game behind San Diego State.
But the Cougars entered the Pepsi Center with a No. 55 RPI ranking and a bubble status for the NCAA tournament, and their quarterfinal failure means they'll probably head instead to the NIT.
BYU shaved away a nine-point first-half deficit and took its first lead since the opening minutes when Jimmy Balderson sank a 3-pointer to put the Cougars ahead 56-54 with 7:15 left.
BYU maintained the lead until Johns stole the ball from Lee Cummard and scored a reverse layup while being bumped by Cummard all the way to the basket. Johns sank the bonus to give Utah a 64-63 lead with 3:46 remaining.
Utah used a 23-11 rebounding edge to forge a 35-28 halftime lead behind Nevill's 16 first-half points, but Nevill didn't shoot again until just under nine minutes remained, when his basket put the Utes up 52-49.
Keena Young led BYU with 17 points and Trent Plaisted added 15.