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Spicer's free throws lift Utah State over Nevada

Mar 10, 2007 - 8:36 AM LAS CRUCES, New Mexico (Ticker) -- Marcelus Kemp did his best to wrestle the game away from Utah State, but Chaz Spicer would not let go.

Spicer scored 20 points, including the clinching free throws with 2.5 seconds left, as the Aggies claimed a 79-77 victory over top-seeded Nevada in the Western Athletic Conference tournament semifinals.

The Wolf Pack's Marcelus Kemp scored 21 of his 24 points in the second half, including a layup that tied the score at 77-77 with 20 seconds left after stealing an inbounds pass.

Looking to pull back ahead, Spicer was tripped up on a drive to the basket and sank both attempts in following up on Utah State's 79-77 overtime win over Nevada on March 1.

Spicer, who 6-of-6 from the stripe, converted two free throws for a 74-68 lead with 1:37 to go.

Chris Session added three more from the line for a 77-72 advantage before Kemp attempted to rally the Wolf Pack, who had won two of the previous three tournament titles including last year.

Kemp hit a 3-pointer with 28 seconds left before tying the score off his steal.

Jaycee Carroll scored 24 points for the Aggies (23-10), who will face New Mexico State in the WAC final on Saturday.

Utah State will be playing in a tournament championship game for the second straight year, losing to Nevada in the event last season. Prior to 2005-06, the Aggies made it to the title game of the Big West tournament five times in six years.

Utah State has now won 23 games in each of the last eight seasons and is now one of just four teams in the nation to achieve that feat, joining Duke, Gonzaga and Kansas.

The junior guard Carroll had two assists against no assists for Utah State, which tied a season low with six giveaways.

Wooden Award candidate Nick Fazekas scored 20 points, but was held to just seven in the second half for Nevada (28-4), which will enter the NCAA Tournament with a 2-2 record in its last four games.

Over the last two years, the Wolf Pack have lost a total of six games against league opponents, and three of those losses have come against the Aggies.