Utah St. 79, No. 10 Nevada 77, OT
LOGAN, Utah (AP)—Utah State fans barely let a desperation shot hit the floor at the buzzer before they rushed the court.
Utah State had just beaten a Top-10 team for the first time in nine years and the fans couldn’t wait to swarm the Aggies after they upset No. 10 Nevada 79-77 in overtime Thursday night.
“I’ve never beaten a Top-10 team before, so I guess this would be my top win,” said Utah State’s Jaycee Carroll, who scored 18.
Carroll tied the game at 77 with a layup, then Chaz Spicer won it on two free throws with 3.8 seconds left. Spicer was way off on his shot from the top of the key, but he drew contact from center Nick Fazekas and won it for Utah State from the line.
Nevada (26-3, 13-2 Western Athletic Conference) had time for a final shot and Marcelus Kemp took it while falling out of bounds, but the ball missed everything and the Aggie fans who had been taunting the Wolf Pack and waving towels all night rushed from their seats and mobbed the players.
The Aggies (21-9, 9-7) were trying to remain unbeaten at home, a streak that dates back to Nevada’s win in Logan last February. Utah State shot 55 percent in the second half and limited Fazekas to nine points in the final 25 minutes.
The Aggies also ended a three-game losing streak.
“We have had a few shovels of dirt thrown on our faces, but this team just keeps coming back,” Utah State coach Stew Morrill said.
Stephen DuCharme led Utah State with 20 points and had two huge defensive plays in overtime to help the Aggies overcome a 45-33 rebounding deficit.
Fazekas finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds and Kemp scored 25 for Nevada, which has already clinched its third straight WAC regular season outright title and is trying to secure a high seed for the NCAA tournament.
Thursday’s result won’t help.
“This is a loss. We haven’t lost very many,” said Nevada coach Mark Fox, who bumped an official late in regulation and got a technical. “We lost to a very good basketball team on the road and I give them credit.”
Ramon Sessions added nine points and 12 rebounds for the Wolf Pack, who will likely to drop from the Top-10 after blowing a 15-point lead.
Sessions put back two misses by Fazekas to start the overtime and Fazekas added a hook shot that put Nevada ahead 77-75. Fazekas then swatted away Jaycee Carroll’s layup attempt at the other end and Nevada had a chance to pull ahead, but DuCharme knocked the ball away and Durrall Peterson picked it up and threw a long pass to Carroll under the basket for the tying layup.
DuCharme came up with another big defensive play after Carroll’s layup, knocking the ball away from Fazekas and the Aggies were poised for the final shot. Spicer got one off from the top of the key that was way short, but he drew contact by Fazekas and went to the line with 3.8 seconds left.
“When opportunity comes, you have to take full advantage,” said Spicer, who finished with 17 points. “I was able to get a foul, get to the line and knock down the free throws.”
It was Utah State’s first win over a Top-10 team since the Aggies beat No. 9 Utah 62-54 in November 1998.
Nevada will still be the No. 1 seed in the WAC tournament next week, but Fox could have some explaining to do before then to league officials.
Fox was furious after Fazekas was called for the offensive foul with 3:56 left in regulation and rushed out and bumped the official before one of his assistants caught up to him and pulled him away.
“I ran on to the court because I thought they missed the call,” Fox said. “I deserved to get the technical. I left the coaching box and I was trying to get one.”
After the technical Carroll made both free throws to put the Aggies up 68-62 with 3:56 left, but Utah State couldn’t hang on and the game was tied at 71 entering OT.
The Wolf Pack had to rally to force overtime despite a huge lead toward the end of the first half. Fazekas hit a 3-pointer that made the lead 40-25, but Utah State cut the margin to 10 before halftime.