LAS VEGAS – Grand Canyon got ’em again.
The Utah Valley men’s basketball team was seeking its first trip to the Western Athletic Conference Tournament finals but ran into the Antelopes for the second straight year in the semifinals.
The Wolverines had their chances but couldn’t get to the basket in the game’s final moments, falling 78-74 at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Friday.
It was the third straight year Utah Valley bowed out in the semifinals.
Trailing by three with under two minutes to play, the Wolverines got the defensive stops it needed to tie the game. But the ensuing two possessions resulted in a turnover and a missed 3-pointer, and Grand Canyon put the game away at the foul line.
Washington transfer Carlos Johnson, who scored a career-high 31 points in the quarterfinals, topped that with 35 points against Utah Valley, including 6 of 8 from the 3-point line.
Conner Toolson led the Wolverines with 16 points, followed by Bailey Steele and Richard Harward with 12 each.
WAC Player of the Year Jake Toolson scored seven points – all in the first half – and was 3 of 11 from the field, including 1 of 7 from the 3-point line.
Utah Valley (24-9) will now await its post-season, which may include the NIT.
Grand Canyon (20-12) will play No. 1 seed New Mexico State (29-4) in the final. The Aggies held off No. 4 Texas-Rio Grande Valley 79-72 in an earlier semifinal. The WAC Championship Game will be televised at 8 p.m. MT on ESPNU.
More on this game to come
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Source:: Daily times