Braxton Huggins and Ian Baker scored 18 points apiece and New Mexico State beat UMKC 78-60 on Friday night in a Western Athletic Conference Tournament semifinal.
Kyle Steward and Dashawn King each scored 12 points to lead No. 3 seed UMKC (17-16), which finished with a winning record for the first time in coach Kareem Richardson’s four seasons. This was the third straight season the Kangaroos reached the WAC semifinals.
“I’m really proud of our guys for hanging in there throughout the year,” Richardson said.
No. 2 seed New Mexico State (27-5) will play top-seeded Cal State Bakersfield (22-8) on Saturday in a rematch of last season’s tournament championship. The Aggies won four-straight titles before losing to the Roadrunners on a buzzer beater.
Huggins shot 5 of 9 from the floor, made four three-pointers and had four assists. Baker was 6-of-12 shooting. Jemerrio Jones grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds for the Aggies.
New Mexico State closed the first half on a 25-7 run for a 41-29 lead. Huggins made two 3s and had eight points and Baker chipped in four points during the stretch. The Kangaroos pulled to 54-48 with about 10 minutes left but didn’t get closer.
Cal State Bakersfield 81, Utah Valley 80, 4 OT: Jaylin Airington scored 22 points in 49 minutes and helped top-seeded Cal State Bakersfield hold off Utah Valley 81-80 in a Western Athletic Conference semifinal Friday night that took a record four overtimes to decide and was a nail-biter to the very end.
Top-seeded Cal State Bakersfield (22-8) plays No. 2 seed New Mexico State (27-5) in Saturday’s championship.
Airington scored 19 of his 22 points in regulation before fouling out in the third overtime. The Roadrunners had 49 points sitting on the bench after losing Airington, Matt Smith (14 points) and Shon Briggs (13) to fouls.
Dedrick Basile scored 18 points and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the line with five rebounds in 53 minutes for the Roadrunners.
Utah Valley (15-16), which had won its second WAC Tournament game ever on Thursday night, pushed the defending champions down to the wire.
Ivory Young drove for the potential game-winner with two seconds left but missed. Conner Toolson fouled Cal State Bakersfield’s Moataz Aly, who corralled the rebound.
With 0.9 seconds showing, Aly missed both shots and Utah Valley was able to call time with 0.7 seconds left. Toolson launched a nearly full-court shot that appeared on line but was short.
Young and Kenneth Ogbe led the Wolverines with 15 points apiece, Jason Poydras added 13.