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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Luke Nevill scored 18 points and Johnnie Bryant added 17 -- including a layup off a length-of-the-court pass with 1.7 seconds left -- to lead the Utah Utes on an unusual second-half surge to beat Colorado State 82-77 on Wednesday night.
The Utes had been 1-13 this season when trailing at halftime, but outscored the Rams 54-42 in the second half for their second straight victory.
Center Jason Smith led the Rams with 17 points despite starting both halves on the bench, while teammate Tyler Smith added 16. The Rams shot 62.8 percent, but could not stop the Utes in the final minutes and lost their fourth straight game.
The Rams trailed 76-74 with 41 seconds left, and nearly forced the Utes into a backcourt turnover when Nevill threw a bad pass for Bryant. But Bryant dove for the ball, and pushed it forward to Ricky Johns, who made a layup with about 36 seconds left for a 78-74 lead.
Johns also made two free throws with 15.1 seconds left, before CSU's Tim Denson hit a three-pointer with 4.3 seconds left to cut the lead to 80-77. But the Rams allowed Utah's Shaun Green to throw a baseball pass the length of the floor to Bryant for the clinching layup.
Green finished with 15 points for the Utes (9-14, 4-6), who moved into a three-way tie with the Rams (14-8, 4-6) and Wyoming for fifth place in the Mountain West Conference standings.
The last time the Utes had rallied from a halftime deficit was in an 80-69 victory over Rice on Nov. 25.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-02-07-07 2128MST