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Matt Norlander

Mountain West's best overshadowed by upset-filled Saturday

The Dagger

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There are so many layers to New Mexico's 83-81 win at the Mariott Center Saturday, it certainly deserves its own post and your attention; we won't let the Kentucky and Kansas losses get all the pub. It was the first time two top-15 teams from the Mountain West played each other, and the game certainly didn't disappoint.

We must give New Mexico's star, Darington Hobson, his due because he provided one of the five best defensive plays you'll see this season. (Video still not on YouTube. Get on it, Lobos fans!)

With approximately four seconds remaining, BYU's Noah Hartsock went hard to the tin. Hobson went up, got his left arm in perfect position (squarely between Hartsock's two limbs) and squeezed away the Cougars' last chance at winning the Mountain West regular-season title. New Mexico will take the conference crown with a win over TCU this week and align itself to probably get a 3-seed in two weeks.

It can't be overstated: almost nobody wins in Provo. But the Lobos did it. It ended a 21-game winning streak at home for the Cougars.

Would BYU have won if Jimmer Fredette didn't have the flu? And it seems the end of this game was marred by (here we go again) water bottles being thrown onto the floor.

Before we get to the end of the game, let's talk Fredette, who had mono earlier this season, only played one minute in the second half. He watched from the bench as the Cougars tried to win from behind. Some called him soft. One person tweeted "if you're sick you better be hugging the toilet bowl and not sitting on the bench."

It's fair to say BYU could've upped its chances with Fredette on the floor. The shooting threat who has gone for more than 30 points on numerous occassions this year was certainly missed in the final five minutes.

And then we have Lobos coach Steve Alford and Cougars senior Jonathan Tavernari. The Salt Lake Tribune's game story doesn't even address the two altercations that have been shown with every highlight ESPN is running. Cougar Blue did. The first: Tavernari almost getting elbowed by Hobson when Hoboson was trying to call timeout, and the second was Alford refusing to shake Tavaneri's hand in the post-game line.

Andy Katz said late Saturday night that Tavaneri went into New Mexico's locker room afterward and apologized.

Making matters worse: BYU fans are no better than Mississippi State or West Virginia fans. Water bottles were thrown on the floor out of disgust for Alford? The loss? Who knows. Another despicable ending, one you wouldn't expect from a BYU crowd.

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