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Newz Forum: BASKETBALL: Maraker's clutch jumper lifts No. 24 Pacific past Utah State

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posted on Feb, 13 2005 @ 09:47 AM
LOGAN, Utah -- Down eight points with 37 seconds left, Pacific needed a little luck and a lot of excellent shooting to extend its winning streak to 16 games.

Mike Webb made two clutch 3-pointers, and Christian Maraker's jumper with 2.5 seconds remaining gave the No. 24 Tigers an improbable 64-63 victory over Utah State on Saturday night.

"Winning that game was like a minor miracle," Pacific coach Bob Thomason said. "They are so good in close situations. This is great for us. We will probably have to play again and this probably will give them more motivation."

Ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time in school history, Pacific (20-2, 14-0 Big West) won for only the second time in 32 trips to Utah State. The Tigers' winning streak is tied for the second-longest in Division I behind top-ranked Illinois -- but they needed plenty of help to keep it going.

With Pacific trailing 61-53, Marko Mihailovic was fouled on a 3-pointer and made all three free throws. Nate Harris hit a pair of foul shots for the Aggies, but Webb sank a 3-pointer and Utah State committed a quick turnover. Webb then hit another 3, cutting it to 63-62.

David Pak missed two free throws for the Aggies with 11 seconds to go, setting up Maraker's 16-footer. The loss ended Utah State's 28-game winning streak in regular-season home games.

"We made stupid, stupid mistakes. We gift-wrapped it and gave this one away. This is the stupidest loss I have ever been involved in," Utah State coach Stew Morrill said. "I'm not going to sugarcoat it. We were stupid."

Guillaume Yango scored 15 points to lead four Tigers in double figures. Maraker had 12, and Webb and David Doubley added 10 apiece.

"This is as good as it gets as far as comebacks go," Thomason said. "These guys don't miss that many free throws. Thank goodness they missed those two."

Jaycee Carroll scored 19 points, and Spencer Nelson had 18 points and 13 rebounds for Utah State (18-6, 9-4).

"No one's going to sleep well tonight. I wish I could give them credit for the win, but we gave this one away. We didn't play very smart in the last minute," Nelson said. "We made five stupid mistakes in the last minute, but this is not the season and we will see them again."

Pacific has already clinched first place in the Big West and will have a bye in the opening round of the conference tournament. Utah State and Cal State Northridge are fighting for second place, which would also secure a first-round bye.

Carroll scored Utah State's first nine points of the second half.

Pacific led most of the first half, with a five-point lead on three occasions. But Utah State put together a 10-0 run with five minutes remaining and went ahead 23-18. Nelson scored six points during the spurt, including a steal near halfcourt and a breakaway dunk.

Pacific also beat Utah State 73-66 in double overtime in Stockton, Calif., on Jan. 13.

The Associated Press News Service




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