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Utah State advances to WAC championship game

LAS VEGAS – Tai Wesley had 14 points and 12 rebounds, Brockeith Pane added 16 points and No. 23 Utah State held off San Jose State 58-54 Friday night to reach the Western Athletic Conference tournament championship game.

Utah State (29-3) came into the WAC tournament looking for a second title in three years and to boost its NCAA tournament credentials. A fifth trip to the WAC title game in six years certainly helps, but the Aggies want to leave no doubt by beating Boise State today to earn the conference’s automatic bid.

Eighth-seeded San Jose State (17-15) gave Utah State everything it could handle in the semifinals despite playing for the third straight day, just missing the lead in the closing seconds when Adrian Oliver’s 30-footer rimmed out.

Oliver finished with 16 points and Keith Shamburger added 11 for San Jose State.

Utah State won its fourth straight regular-season WAC title handily, going 15-1 to finish five games ahead of second-place Boise State.

The Aggies set a school record for regular-season victories by winning 26 of their final 27 games and were ranked the final seven weeks of the regular season for their longest streak in 40 years.

Boise State 81, New Mexico State 63: La’Shard Anderson and Ryan Watkins scored 16 points each, and the Broncos dominated the second half to rout the aggies and reach the championship game.

Second-seeded Boise State (20-11) used its defense to create scoring opportunities in the first half, then hit a slew of 3-pointers in succession in the second to run away from the defending tournament champions.

NMSU (16-17) was led by Tyrone Watson with 15 points.