Late Comeback Falls Short as Fresno State is Downed by Boise State 86-85
March 12, 2005
By SCOTT SONNER
Associated Press Writer
RENO, Nev. (AP) - Jason Ellis scored 25 points and Coby Karl made the game-winning free throws with 8.7 seconds left Friday night to send Boise State into the championship of the Western Athletic Conference tournament with an 86-85 win over Fresno State.
Jermaine Blackburn added 22 points and Ellis grabbed 17 rebounds for the eighth-seeded Broncos (16-17), who outrebounded Fresno 45-30 and led by 10 points with less than 6 minutes left before withstanding a late Bulldogs rally for an unlikely shot at the WAC tourney title.
Boise State, which knocked off regular season champ Nevada on Thursday night, will meet second-seeded UTEP (26-7) in Saturday's championship. The Miners beat Rice 85-77 in Friday's other semifinal.
Ja'Vance Coleman had 26 points for the Bulldogs (16-14), including a pair of 3-pointers in the last 1:28 before missing a final attempt that would have won the game with 2.5 seconds to play.
"We didn't do a good enough job defensively against them," head coach Ray Lopes said. "Boise State is a solid offensive team. I thought the last three minutes we gave ourselves a chance to win. But defense is how you win championships, and we weren't good enough in that area tonight."
Boise State led by as much as 12 and went ahead 80-70 on Blackburn's 3-pointer with 5:20 left. But Fresno answered with a 15-4 run, taking an 85-84 lead when Kevin Bell stole the ball from Karl and made a layup with 30 seconds left.
Karl's final two free throws came one night after he was in the same spot on the free throw line trailing Nevada by one. The son of Denver Nuggets coach George Karl made the first one Thursday but missed the second before Blackburn grabbed the ball and put it back in for the 73-72 upset of the 24th ranked Wolf Pack.