LAS VEGAS (AP) — Cameron Bairstow had 23 points and eight rebounds to lead No. 20 New Mexico to a 70-67 victory over Boise State in the Mountain West Conference tournament semifinals Friday night.
The Lobos (26-8) advance to Saturday’s championship game against San Diego State, a team they split with during the regular season.
Bairstow’s 10-foot baseline jumper with 42.2 seconds left pushed New Mexico’s lead to seven, while his two free throws with 3.8 seconds left sealed the victory.
Kendall Williams added 16 points for the Lobos, while Deshawn Delaney added 14 points and seven rebounds.
Derrick Marks led the Broncos (21-13) with 20 points. Thomas Bropleh added 16 points before being ejected at the 7:15 mark of the second half, after being called for a flagrant-two for clotheslining Bairstow under the basket.
The ejection sparked the Lobos to score the next four points and extend their lead to six after Delaney picked a misfire off the rim and slammed it home, and Bairstow hit a field goal a minute later.
But the Broncos wouldn’t go away. After falling behind by 10 points early in the first half, the Broncos clawed their way back in the second half to tie the game at 46-all with 10:25 left in the game.
Boise State had a chance to tie it with 3.8 seconds left, but New Mexico’s stringent defense forced Nick Duncan to go over-and-back at the center line and turn the ball over back to the Lobos.