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Mountain toppers

Cougars qualify for first NCAA tourney since 1995

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Posted: Sunday March 11, 2001 1:20 AM


LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Mekeli Wesley scored 30 points, 21 in the second half, as Brigham Young beat New Mexico 69-65 to win the Mountain West Conference and advance to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1995.

Trent Whiting added 15 points, and Terrell Lyday scored 11 for the Cougars (23-8). Wesley also added eight rebounds.

Marlon Parmer and Ruben Douglas each scored 14 points to lead New Mexico (19-12), and Wayland White added 11.

The Cougars led 64-57 with 2:25 remaining, but Douglas hit a 3-pointer and Brian Smith added two free throws to pull the Lobos to within 64-62 with 58 seconds remaining.

Wesley answered with a layup, but Parmer cut the lead to 66-65 with a 3-pointer with 18.9 seconds remaining. Wesley was fouled and hit one free throw with 17.5 seconds remaining.

Parmer missed a 3-pointer and Whiting hit two free throws with 4.7 seconds left to seal the victory.

Brigham Young led by 11 points with 14:57 left in the game after outscoring the Lobos 9-4 to start the second half. The Lobos came back on a 3-point play and a 3-point field goal by Parmer.

BYU held the lead throughout the second half as Wesley, playing the last eight minutes with four fouls, scored 15 straight points.

The Cougars led 33-27 at the half. Brigham Young trailed by two 4:33 before the intermission, but scored seven straight points. Tim Lightfoot hit a jumper for New Mexico with 39 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 30-27, but Whiting, who scored 10 in the half, hit a 3-pointer with :05 remaining to put the Cougars up by six.

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