Texas-El Paso 65, Wyoming 64
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) _ Juden Smith followed his own miss and scored on a rebound with 37 seconds to give Texas El-Paso a 65-64 victory over Wyoming in the championship game of the Western Athletic Conference basketball tournament and a berth in the NCAA tournament here Saturday.
Wyoming had taken the lead 64-63 with 2:34 left on the clock when 6-foot-4 forward Fennis Dembo, who scored a game-high 28 points, hit a 20-foot jumper.
Eric Leckner, who was named the Most Valuable Player in the tournament, had a chance to give Wyoming a three-point lead when he went to the line with 55 seconds remaining in the game and Wyoming leading 64-63. But Leckner, who wound up with 23 points, missed the front end of the one-and-one and UTEP pushed the ball down the floor for the winning shot by Smith, a 6-6 junior forward. Both Les Bolden and Dembo put up shots for Wyoming in the final seconds but both missed. Wyoming made its way to the championship on a 67-65 victory over Air Force on a shot at the buzzer by Bolden and a 56-54 victory over New Mexico on a shot at the buzzer by Tuck Boyd.
UTEP, which pushed its record for the season to 27-5, was led by 6-11 center Dave Fietl, who had 19 points before fouling out with 5:41 remaining in the game. Smith had 15 points and 6-9 Mike Richmond came off the bench to score 13.
The Miners hit 69 percent from the field in the first half and held a 40-34 lead at halftime. The biggest lead of the game for either team was eight points as the Miners moved out 42-34 early in the second half.