Aggies Squeak Past Hawaii 73-70 in WAC Tourney

Aggies Squeak Past Hawaii 73-70 in WAC Tourney

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LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) -- This time of the season, good players make great plays. Utah State junior guard Jaycee Carroll fits that script.

Carroll, the Aggies' quick, aggressive and confident floor leader, scored 24 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and came up with a late offensive rebound that helped Utah State beat Hawaii 73-70 in the quarterfinals of the Western Athletic Conference tournament on Thursday.

No. 4 seed Utah State (22-10) moves on to play top-seed and No. 10 ranked Nevada (28-3) in Friday's semifinals.

Hawaii (18-13) may have played its last game under longtime coach Riley Wallace. Wallace, the school's all-time career leader in wins with 334, announced earlier he was retiring at the end of the season. Barring a bid from the NIT, Wallace's 20-year tenure with the Rainbow Warriors is over.

He doesn't like his chances of getting a call from the NIT.

"I would think we had to win tonight," he said.

In this day of musical chair coaching, Wallace attributed his longevity at Hawaii to a program that won enough games and consistently recruited good players.

Aggies Squeak Past Hawaii 73-70 in WAC Tourney
Photo: (AP Photo/Jake Schoellkopf)

"When you win, the fans come and you get to stick around a little while, except maybe if you're Kentucky," Wallace said.

Carroll hit the first of two free throws with 5.9 seconds left for the final margin. The ball went out of bounds in a scramble after Carroll's miss and Hawaii got the possession with just 2.2 seconds left.

Hawaii got the ball to Matt Lojeski, who raced into the frontcourt and put up a 3-pointer that bounced off the back of the rim. Lojeski scored 20 points and Bobby Nash scored 22 for Hawaii.

"When I shot it, I thought it might have a chance," Lojeski said. "It was a decent look, it wasn't off by much."

Carroll's offensive rebound of a missed shot by teammate Chaz Spicer came with 51 seconds and Utah State ahead 69-66. At 6-foot-2, Carroll averages better than 6 rebounds a game and has a knack for knowing where the ball is headed.

"Our big men and their big men were kind of tipping it around and I was able to chase down the tipouts," Carroll said. "I came out with a lot of energy and was determined to get rebounds."

Nash missed on a 3-pointer with 9 seconds left and Utah State holding a 72-70 lead. Ahmet Gueye nearly came up with an offensive rebound on Nash's miss, but the Aggies got the ball and Carroll was fouled.

Nash's miss followed two missed free throws by Utah State's Durrall Peterson with 19 seconds left. Thirty-seconds earlier Peterson had airballed the first of two free throws.

Hawaii, the No. 5 seed, took a 58-57 lead -- its first since the 1:47 mark of the first half -- on a 3-pointer by Dominic Waters with 6:50 left. Spicer put the Aggies in front for good (61-59) with a hook shot with 4:58 remaining.

Hawaii hit eight 3-pointers, but the Aggies countered by hitting 19 of 25 free throws.

Wallace, who was honored by the conference prior to the game, said the idea this was his last game at Hawaii didn't sink in as he walked off the court.

"Honestly, I was (upset) about the game," he said. "I hadn't thought about that until some guy yelled something out of the stands."


HAWAII (18-13)
Owsley 0-4 0-0 0, Gueye 3-10 1-2 7, Gibson 4-12 0-0 9, Lojeski 6-16 7-8 20, Nash 9-17 0-1 22, Waters 2-4 2-2 8, Luettgerodt 0-2 0-0 0, Verwers 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 26-67 10-13 70.

UTAH ST. (22-10)
Peterson 4-6 1-4 10, Spicer 6-11 7-8 20, DuCharme 5-11 0-0 10, Clark 0-4 2-2 2, Carroll 7-13 9-11 24, Hammer 3-6 0-0 7, Vaitiekus 0-0 0-0 0, Session 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 25-55 19-25 73.

Halftime--Tied 36.
3-Point Goals--Hawaii 8-26 (Nash 4-10, Waters 2-4, Gibson 1-6, Lojeski 1-6), Utah St. 4-9 (Peterson 1-1, Spicer 1-1, Hammer 1-3, Carroll 1-4).
Fouled Out--None.
Rebounds--Hawaii 41 (Gueye 12), Utah St. 36 (Carroll 13).
Assists--Hawaii 16 (Lojeski 6), Utah St. 8 (Peterson 2).
Total Fouls--Hawaii 21, Utah St. 13.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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