Mascots get physical at WAC basketball tourney
RENO, Nev. (AP) - The intensity of Utah State's 71-70 win over New Mexico State in the final 3.1 seconds Friday night spilled over to the sidelines where the mascots for the two teams named Aggies got physical with each other down the stretch of a Western Athletic Conference basketball tourney semifinal.
During a time out with 7 seconds left and New Mexico State leading 70-69, Utah State mascot "Big Blue" the bull confronted the New Mexico State's cowboy mascot "Pistol Pete" and ripped off his fake mustache.
The cowboy then chased the bull to half court, jumped on his back and tried unsuccessfully to pull him to the floor. He then started to try to choke his rival before retreating to his end of the court.
Several newspaper photographers covering the game said they heard a man in a Nevada shirt offer the Utah State mascot $100 to go grab the mustache. The man confirmed to The Associated Press that was true and that he paid the mascot the $100, but declined to provide his name. He said he did not expect the NMSU mascot to respond the way he did.
WAC Commissioner Karl Benson was watching the game but said he missed the incident.
After fans for both teams started booing, Utah State's Tai Wesley caught an inbounds pass at the top of the lane and passed to Tyler Newbold on the left wing. His 15-foot shot rolled off the rim, hit the backboard and rolled in with 3.1 seconds on the clock to help Utah State (29-4) overcome a 13-point deficit and set a school record for most wins in a season.
Utah State, the league's regular season champion, now advances to Saturday's WAC final against the winner of Friday night's other semifinal between second-seeded Nevada (20-11) and sixth-seeded Louisiana Tech (15-17).