Utah Coach Rick Majerus called it poetic justice.
Majerus was describing Byron Wilson’s half-court at the buzzer that gave Utah a 57-54 Western Athletic Conference victory over No. 19 Texas El Paso Thursday night at Salt Lake City.
With the score tied, 54-54, Jimmy Soto of Utah (14-5, 4-3) grabbed the rebound off a missed shot by Prince Stewart of UTEP (16-2, 6-1). Soto dribbled upcourt and passed to Wilson, who banked in the shot from just over the midcourt line for the victory.
“The big thing was that we got a shot off,” Majerus said. “You can’t get lucky if you don’t get a shot. We missed so many easy shots in the game, it was poetic justice when that went down.”
Texas El Paso Coach Don Haskins said it should not have counted.
“Soto went over the (midcourt) line and back on that last play,” said Haskins, who also contended that Wilson shot after the buzzer.
Stewart, whose three-point shot with 1:29 left ended a three-minute scoring drought for Texas El Paso and produced the last tie, had 15 points to lead the Miners.
Soto scored 12 points for Utah.
Paul Afeaki added nine points and pulled down 11 rebounds.
No. 1 Duke 75, No. 23 Florida State 62--The Blue Devils (16-0 overall, 8-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) trailed, 62-61, with 3:43 left before scoring the final 14 points, eight by Grant Hill.
Christian Laettner and Hill each scored 20 points and Bobby Hurley scored 11 points and had seven assists to lead the Blue Devils at Tallahassee, Fla.
“We practice end-of-game situations a lot, (but) we haven’t been in many,” Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “It seemed like all of our veterans made big plays.”
Hill, who also had 10 rebounds, put Duke ahead, 64-62, with a driving scoop shot. The Blue Devils went on to their 22nd consecutive victory and ended Florida State’s six-game winning streak.
Duke matched the best start in school history, accomplished in 1985-86.
Florida State (13-5, 5-3) took a 62-61 lead with 3:43 left on freshman Bob Sura’s layup, but the Seminoles didn’t score again.
No. 10 Ohio State 74, Illinois 72--The Buckeyes almost blew an 18-point lead but held on for the Big Ten Conference victory at Champaign, Ill.
Jim Jackson scored 16 points for Ohio State (13-3, 5-1), which made only two of six free throws in the final 1:19, allowing Illinois (8-9, 2-5) to stay close. The Illini went for the victory in the final seconds, but Brooks Taylor missed a three-point shot.
No. 16 Tulane 98, Southern Mississippi 86--Matt Greene scored nine points during a 23-10 run midway through the first half to lead the Green Wave to the Metro Conference victory at New Orleans.
Carlin Hartman and Pointer Williams each scored 16 points for Tulane (16-1, 4-0).
Clarence Weatherspoon scored 33 points for Southern Mississippi (8-9, 2-2).
No. 17 North Carolina Charlotte 77, No. 24 Louisville 68--James Terrell scored 22 points and made two three-point shots in overtime to give the 49ers the Metro victory at Charlotte, N.C.
Terrell made two long jump shots and Rodney Odom made a free throw that gave North Carolina Charlotte (14-3, 3-0) a 72-65 lead in overtime. Keith LeGree of Louisville (12-5, 3-3) made a three-point shot with 42 seconds left to narrow the deficit to four points, but the 49ers made five of six free throws for the victory.
Henry Williams scored 18 points and Odom had 16 for Charlotte.
No. 21 Nevada Las Vegas 85, Utah State 80--Elmore Spencer scored 27 points to lead the Rebels to a Big West Conference overtime victory at Logan, Utah.
The score was 73-73 at the end of regulation. Spencer began the overtime with a free throw, then blocked a shot and added a dunk. Freshman Reggie Manuel came off the bench and made a three-point shot and two free throws in the final 12 seconds for UNLV (18-2, 10-0 Big West).
Kendall Youngblood scored 39 points for Utah State (11-6, 5-3).
Gary Trost and Kevin Nixon each scored 17 points and combined for 18 during a 22-8 run to open the second half, leading Brigham Young (14-3, 5-2) to an 85-65 Western Athletic Conference victory over New Mexico (11-8, 5-2) at Provo, Utah. . . . Lynn Tryon scored 18 points as Colorado State (10-10, 4-2) beat San Diego State (2-16, 0-6) 76-63 in a WAC game at Ft. Collins, Colo.
Chris Walz scored 20 points, the final three from the free-throw line in overtime, as Hawaii (10-7, 3-8) beat Air Force (6-18, 0-6), 74-72, in a WAC game at Air Force Academy, Colo.