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BYU rally falls short versus UNLV; loses 70-66


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LAS VEGAS (AP) -- UNLV and San Diego State have spent the last month making their case to join heavyweights New Mexico and Brigham Young in the NCAA tournament.

Both underdogs will get to give a closing argument in the championship of the Mountain West Conference tournament. UNLV upset No. 14 BYU 70-66 Friday night, three hours after San Diego State edged No. 8 New Mexico 72-69.

Tre'Von Willis scored 18 points, Chace Stanback added 17 and Brice Massamba 13 for the third-seeded Runnin' Rebels (25-7), who will face the fourth-seeded Aztecs (24-8) for the title Saturday night.

UNLV didn't let Jimmer Fredette go off quite like he did a night earlier in a win over TCU, when the junior from Glens Falls, N.Y., set tournament records with 45 points and a 23-of-24 performance from the line. This time, he was "held" to 30 points -- 12-of-12 from the stripe.

He gave it his best shot in the closing minutes.

Fredette's 3-pointer from 3 feet beyond the arc trimmed BYU's deficit to 59-56 with just under four minutes left, and his three free throws with 3:14 left tied it at 59.

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His two free throws with 48 seconds left pulled BYU to 65-64 after a running layup by Willis.

Willis hit two more free throws with 36 seconds remaining after a questionable foul on Fredette to make it 67-64.

Fredette was triple-teamed and fed the ball inside, but Michael Loyd Jr., missed a mid-range jumper and Massamba was fouled by Jackson Emery.

Massamba missed the first, but his second foul shot bounced high and fell through, fluttering the net as the crowd at the Thomas & Mack Center roared over the four-point cushion.

Fredette's two foul shots pulled BYU to 68-66 with 11 seconds left, but Willis sank two at the other end 2 seconds later for a 70-66 lead, and the Cougars were done.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Arnie Stapleton Writer

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