March 11, 2006
RENO, Nev. (AP) - Nick Fazekas had 23 points and 14 rebounds and Marcelus Kemp hit a key 3-pointer with 46 seconds left in overtime to help No. 21 Nevada beat Utah State 70-63 on Saturday night in the Western Athletic Conference championship.
Mo Charlo added 14 points and the Wolf Pack (27-5) made 10 of 12 free throws in the overtime to earn an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. Nevada has won 14 straight games, the second longest streak in the nation to Gonzaga's 18.
Nate Harris scored 22 points for the Aggies (23-8), including a 3-pointer that cut it to 66-63 with 17 seconds left in the extra period.
But Kemp, who finished with 13 points, made two free throws. After David Pak's 3-point attempt missed, Chad Bell made a pair of free throws with 7 seconds left to secure the win.
Nevada, which also won the WAC regular-season title and finished 17-1 at home this season, clinched its third straight trip to the NCAA tournament with the second-best record in school history following a 28-5 mark in 1945-46.
Durrall Peterson hit a 3-pointer at 3:21 in overtime to put Utah State ahead 60-59 for the first time since midway through the second half.
Kyle Shiloh made two of three free throws to put Nevada back on top 61-60 with 1:49 to go.
Cass Matheus, who finished with 13 points, drew a foul underneath but missed both free throws and Kemp hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to make it 64-60 with 46 seconds left. Fazekas, the tournament MVP, added a pair of free throws for a 66-60 lead.
With the teams tied at 53 in regulation, Fazekas made a pair of free throws with 1:09 to go but Pak answered with a 15-footer to tie it.
As the shot clock ticked down, Kemp stumbled and was called for traveling with 16 seconds left. Jaycee Carroll missed a 15-footer with 4 seconds left in regulation and Matheus and Harris missed tip-ins before Bell cleared the ball to force the overtime.
Nevada, which made 20 of 25 free throws in the game, led 33-31 at halftime.
Nevada forward Demarshay Johnson blocks a shot by Utah State guard David Pak. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)