Mountain West Champs!

March 2, 2002

*WYOMING 57, UTAH 56 - Box Score

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) -

Marc Bailey sank two free throws with 5 seconds leftand scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half in leading Wyoming past Utah57-56 Saturday for the Mountain West Conference championship, the Cowboys'first outright league title in 20 years.

The loss snapped Utah's streak of seven consecutive regular-seasonconference titles. The Utes had been tied with Cincinnati for the longestactive streak in the nation. Cincinnati still has a shot at winning theConference USA title this season.

Wyoming (20-7 overall, 11-3 MWC) earned the top seed in the MWC tournament,which begins next Thursday in Las Vegas.

Utah (20-7, 10-4) and the Cowboys were tied at 51-all with 3:28 left whenDonta Richardson and Uche Nsonwu-Amadi each sank a pair of free throws for a55-51 Wyoming lead.

Nick Jacobson, who led Utah with 24 points, scored to pull Utah within abasket at the 2:02 mark.

Neither team could manage to score until Bailey was fouled with 4 secondsleft on a botched Utah in-bounds play. He sank both foul shots, which wereneeded when Jacobson dropped in a long 3-pointer as time ran out.

Bailey Photo
Marcus Bailey sinks the last of two free throws to seal the MWC Championship.
(Newland photo)

Many of the Arena-Auditorium's record 16,089 fans flooded the court andmobbed the Wyoming team.

The Cowboys last won a conference regular-season title outright in 1982.They shared the MWC title last year with Utah and BYU.

Wyoming Postgame Notes
Following a 57-56 home victory over Utah on March 2, 2002

Notes

*Wyoming captured back-to-back conference titles today for the first time since the 1980-81 and 1981-82 seasons. A year ago, Wyoming tied with BYU and Utah with a 10-4 conference mark.

*This was the first outright conference title won in the three-year history of Mountain West Conference men's basketball. The first season UNLV and Utah tied for the title. Last year, Wyoming, BYU and Utah tied.

*It was the first time Wyoming won a conference title at home since the Arena-Auditorium opened 20 years ago.

*This is Wyoming's first outright conference title since the 1981-82 season.

*Wyoming is now 20-7 and 11-3 in the Mountain West Conference.

*Wyoming swept the season series with Utah this season. The Cowboys also won in Salt Lake City on Feb. 4, 2002, by a score of 54-46.

*This marks Wyoming's first back-to-back 20-win seasons since 1986-87 and 1987-88 seasons. Both those teams in the `80s advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

*With its 20th win tonight, Wyoming has now won at least 19 games in each of its last three seasons. The Cowboys have won at least 18 games in each of Steve McClain's four years at UW.

*With its 11th conference win today, Wyoming has improved its win total in conference play each year that Steve McClain has been head coach. Wyoming was 7-7 in 1998-99, 8-6 in 1999-2000, 10-4 in 2000-01 and is 11-3 this season.

*Today's crowd of 16,089 was the largest in the 20-year history of the Arena-Auditorium, and was the first crowd over 16,000 in Arena history.

*Wyoming averaged 10,026 fans in 14 home games this season. That is only the second time in the 20 seasons of the Arena-Auditorium that Wyoming has averaged over 10,000. The only season to exceed this one in attendance was the 1987-88 season, when Wyoming averaged 13,165.

*Today's victory over Utah was Wyoming's seventh consecutive over Utah in Laramie.

Wyoming Postgame Quotes

Steve McClain Quotes

"This is what we've been working for all season. This was a great college basketball game today. Our kids really did a good job of turning it up on the defensive end when we needed it. Uche was big in the middle.

"Marc (Bailey) made some big plays down the stretch. Hitting those two free throws in that situation was a testament to the kind of kid he is.

"Josh (Davis) also made a big play on that block late in the game.

"David (Rottinghaus) and Joe Ries were two of our younger kids who really played key minute for us today. Everybody contributed in some way.

"Utah is a very good basketball team. Their kids always play hard and play smart, and they are extremely well coached. We may end up seeing them again next week.

"What a great crowd today. Over 16,000 for the first time in the history of the Double A. Our fans have been huge all season for us, and they really gave us a lift today.

"I'm so happy for our seniors. Josh (Davis), Paris (Corner), Ugo (Udezue) and Ronell (Mingo) all contributed today. They've helped lead this program to a point where we've now won back-to-back titles. I can't say enough about them."