Eric Leckner made a 19-foot fadeaway jump shot at the buzzer to give No. 14 Wyoming a 60-58 victory over Colorado State in the semifinals of the Western Athletic Conference basketball tournament Friday night.
The Cowboys (25-5) will play Texas El Paso for the championship tonight at the Marriott Center. UTEP advanced with a 66-63 victory over No. 17 Brigham Young in the second semifinal game.
Leckner, a 6-foot 11-inch senior center from Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, caught a three-quarter court inbounds pass from junior forward Clauzell Williams at the top of the key, turned, shot and fell to the floor. The ball swished through as time expired.
"I was flat on my back, but I saw the shot go down," Leckner said.
Wyoming Coach Benny Dees had set up the play during a timeout with two seconds left after Colorado State had tied the score at 58-58 on a 10-foot baseline jumper by senior guard David Turcotte with four seconds to play. Dees inserted Williams, who was an all-state quarterback at Bedford High School in Detroit, specifically to throw the pass.
"It's our home-run play," Dees said, "and tonight we hit it out of the park."
Leckner, who had 14 points but played only 22 minutes because of foul trouble, said he was surprised Dees designed the play for him.
"The coach had it all mapped out," Leckner said. "I looked at him and said, 'You want me to shoot the basketball?"'
Wyoming forward Fennis Dembo had game highs of 24 points and 9 rebounds. Turcotte led the Rams (18-12) with 20 points.