Thursday, March 14, 2013
Aggies take on upstart Texas State in WAC semis
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - It didn't take long for an upset in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament.
A night after winning a play-in game, seventh-seeded Texas State beat No. 2 Denver 72-68 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., on Thursday.
Texas State advanced to play No. 3 New Mexico State in Friday's 7 p.m., semifinal. Texas State beat Seattle 68-56 on Wednesday to advance to take on the rested Pioneers.
"We are playing the better team because they are the team that won," said Aggies coach Marvin Menzies, whose Aggies beat No. 6 Idaho 65-49 in the first game of the day. "Denver didn't shoot the 3 but Texas State is the reason they struggled so we have to be ready for their intensity."
Denver was 10-for-28 from 3-point range against Texas State, forced to play from behind for the whole game.
"It's a tough pill after the way we have been playing for the past three months," Denver coach Joe Scott said. "They (Texas State) played the best they have all year. That happens this time of year."
Texas State wing Joel Wright scored 32 points on 9-for-10 shooting and was 14-of-16 from the foul line.
"I had so many coaches and people giving me condolences the last couple of days because (Denver) is such a good team," said Texas State coach Doug Davalos, whose team improved to 11-21 on the season. "The thing about the team I am coaching is we are a good team too."
New Mexico State beat Texas State 78-67 in Las Cruces and 86-72 in San Marcos, Texas. Wright scored 14 points on 3-of-18 shooting in San Marcos and he scored 17 in Las Cruces.
"We have been a great defensive team in conference the last three games," Davalos said. "Nothing is going to change (Friday). We know how talented (the Aggies) are."
The Aggies have been remarkably focused throughout the course of the season. It's unlikely the Aggies will look past Texas State. After all, the Aggies beat last year's upstart team, Louisiana Tech, in the final after the Bulldogs advanced past Utah State and Nevada.
"There have been a lot of close games," Menzies said. "You have to be able to bring your 'A' game on any given night. That's what we did today and hopefully we do it tomorrow."