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French's Pass Doesn't Find Target and Nevada Tops Fullerton, 68-64

March 11, 1994|MIKE REILLEY

LAS VEGAS — James French made all the big plays down the stretch for Cal State Fullerton on Thursday.

He just wishes he could have that last one back.

French scored seven points in the final 2:56, but turned the ball over with nine seconds to play as Nevada held on for a 68-64 victory in the first round of the Big West tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center.

French's driving layup with 1:42 to play gave the Titans a 64-60 lead. But a three-point basket by Nevada's Jerry Hogan with 1:18 left and another by Shawn Pughsley with 24 seconds remaining put the Wolf Pack ahead, 66-64.

After a Fullerton timeout, French took the ball to the left of the key and tried to force a bounce pass to Chris St. Clair in the corner. Nevada's Marcus Iverson intercepted and fired a pass to Jimmy Moore, who laid it in for the clinching basket with six seconds left.

"Chris was wide open for the three," French said. "I tried to fake Iverson up and bounce-pass it to him, but that was a mistake."

Ninth-seeded Nevada (11-16) advanced to today's quarterfinals against top-seeded New Mexico State. Fullerton, which had beaten Nevada twice in the regular season, ended the season at 8-19.

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