Utah State squeaks by San Jose State, reaches WAC finalMar 12, 2011 - 7:21 AM Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) - Brockeith Pane scored 16 points to lead the 23rd-ranked Utah State Aggies to a 58-54 victory over the San Jose State Spartans in the semifinal round of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament.
Tai Wesley pitched in 14 points and 12 rebounds for top-seeded Utah State (29-3), which advances to Saturday's title game to take on second-seeded Boise State.
Adrian Oliver posted 16 points in defeat for eighth-seeded San Jose State (17-15), which got 11 points from Keith Shamburger.
The Aggies began the game with seven unanswered points and led 33-29 at intermission.
San Jose State grabbed a 51-50 edge with 5 1/2 minutes remaining in the contest on a layup by Justin Graham, but the Spartans managed only three points the rest of the way.
Oliver did have a chance to put the Spartans ahead in the closing seconds, but his 30-foot shot missed its mark. Wesley got the rebound, was fouled, and he knocked down a couple of clutch free throws to seal the win.
The Aggies connected on only 37 percent of their field goal attempts in the tilt, including a 3-of-14 effort from three-point range, but they earned a 15-11 edge in points from the foul line and held the Spartans to 37.3 percent field goal efficiency.
Utah State will now make its fifth appearance in the WAC title game in the past six years. After capturing the crown in 2009, the Aggies dropped a 69-63 decision to New Mexico State in last season's title game.
Utah State has won the last four WAC regular season titles but still has just one WAC Tournament title in program history...Nate Bendall pulled down 12 rebounds for the Aggies...San Jose State has never won this tournament...The Spartans defeated Hawaii by one point in the first round and Idaho by six points in the quarterfinals to earn a spot in the semifinals...Wesley was recently named the WAC Player of the Year.
- SAN JOSE STATE: 54
UTAH STATE: 58
Mar 11 10:53 PM
- SAN JOSE STATE: 29
UTAH STATE: 33
Mar 11 9:48 PM
- SAN JOSE STATE: 0
UTAH STATE: 0
1st Half - 20:00
Mar 11 9:10 PM
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