New Mexico State knocks off USU for WAC Championship, 69-63

New Mexico State fans stormed the court as the Aggies from the south knocked off the Aggies from Utah State 69-63 for the WAC Championship in Reno, Nevada.Utah State struggled to find its offense, scoring less than 80 points for the first time in two weeks. New Mexico State, like their predecessors in the WAC tournament, used a full court press to frustrate USU’s ability to get into its offense.”First of all congratulations to New Mexico State,” USU head coach Stew Morrill said after the game. “They’re playing extremely well.””It was a close game, highly contested game. They just made more plays than we did.”New Mexico State beat USU in nearly every statistical category: +10 in points in the paint; +4 second chance points; +9 fast break points, +10 points off the bench; and, probably the biggest difference in the game, their 62% second half shooting compared to USU’s 52%.With seven lead changes and 12 ties, it was a back and forth battle for most of the game. New Mexico State took the lead with 5:13 left in the game and never gave it up.”They kept answering every run,” Morrill said. “That’s a team that can make a run in the NCAA (tournament).”It looked like USU might be without one if its main weapons early on. With less than one minute into the game Tai Wesley got a bloody nose after being hit in the face by Hamidu Rahman.”He came off a double team and flailed his arms and came down and got me,” Wesley said.Wesley confirmed his nose was broken and it affected his breathing during the game.Jared Quayle and Wesley were named to the 2010 WAC Men’s Basketball All-Tournament Team. Quayle lead USU with 25 points while Wesley scored 13 and pulled down 12 rebounds. Nate Bendall also scored in double figures for the championship game, putting in 16 points. New Mexico State’s Troy Gillenwater and Jahmar Young were also named to the all-tournament team, along with Nevada’s Luke Babbitt. Young was named the tournament MVP, mostly behind a game-winning shot versus Nevada Friday night and leading the NewMags with 19 points over USU.

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