Merrill, Utah St. hold off Wyoming in MWC tourney semifinals

NCAA Men's Basketball

LAS VEGAS (AP)Sam Merrill had 27 points and seven assists, Neemias Queta scored 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting, and No. 2 seed Utah State never trailed in its 89-82 win over Wyoming on Friday night in the Mountain West Conference tournament semifinals.

Utah State plays top-seeded and fifth-ranked San Diego State – which swept the regular-season series between the teams – on Saturday for an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

Utah State led by as many as nine point in the first half and Brock Miller hit a 3-pointer to open the second and give the Aggies a 41-31 lead. No. 11 seed Wyoming answered with an 11-4 run to trim its deficit to three with 14 minutes remaining and Kwane Marble III scored five straight points to make it 66-all about nine minutes later. Merrill scored seven consecutive points during a 13-0 run capped by two free throws by Queta with 1:28 to go and Utah State held on from there.

Kenny Foster had 18 points and Hunter Maldonado added 14 points, nine rebounds and five assists for Wyoming.

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