Texas State notched its most important men’s basketball win since at least 1997 Wednesday, shooting 65.7 percent from the floor to upset second-seeded Denver, 72-68, in the quarterfinals of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament in Las Vegas.
The Bobcats took only 35 shots, but made 23 of them to make the upset. The Bobcats will play New Mexico State Friday (8 p.m.) in the tournament semifinals.
Texas State is two wins away from a bid for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1997, when they won the automatic bid from the much weaker Southland Conference.
Joel Wright led the way for the Bobcats, scoring 32 points with seven rebounds. Bret Olson led Denver with 19 points.
The Bobcats came out strong in both halves. For the second straight game in the tournament, the Bobcats began with the first 10 points. They held on Wednesday for a 36-32 halftime lead. The Bobcats came out in the second half with six straight points from Wright to take a 42-32 lead.
Denver came within 60-57, but Deonte Jones made a three-pointer to give the Bobcats a 63-57 lead with 1:54 left in the game. From there, the Bobcats salted it away at the free-throw line, going eight-for-eight from the stripe in the last 1:08.
The Bobcats are 12-21 overall after finishing 5-13 in the WAC. However, the Bobcats now have won three straight and four of their last six games. Denver, which won the WAC at 16-2 in the league, fell to 21-9.