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TOURNAMENT

Fresno State's Quest Ends in Overtime

March 25, 1998|From Associated Press

With the man who exposed its off-court problems on national television watching from the stands, Fresno State's improbable run to a championship ended Tuesday night at New York.

Kevin Clark scored a career-high 30 points and Sam Jacobson added 24 as Minnesota advanced to the NIT championship with a 91-89 overtime victory over the Bulldogs.

Fresno State's season of scandal, which included arrests, suspensions and substance abuse problems for some of its star players, was recently the focus of a "60 Minutes" feature by CBS correspondent Mike Wallace.

After the story was aired, Fresno State Coach Jerry Tarkanian criticized Wallace for not being up front with him about its content. But at halftime, Wallace, a guest of Tarkanian's, said he and the coach had spoken before the game and had "a very civilized conversation."

"This loss really hurts because of all the adversity we went through," said Tarkanian, whose club had won its previous three tournament games by a total of eight points.

Minnesota (19-15), which won the NIT in 1993, is playing in its second consecutive national semifinals after making to the Final Four last year.

"We feel this is our Final Four," said Coach Clem Haskins, whose Gophers will play Penn Stae in the championship game.

Fresno State was done in by poor shot selection down the stretch and a costly technical foul late in regulation.

With the Bulldogs leading, 70-66, with five minutes left, Fresno State's Kevin Roberson was whistled for attempting to trip Quincy Lewis after a rebound. After Eric Harris made both technical free throws, Jacobson made a three-point basket to put Minnesota up by one, a five-point swing.

"The technical was the key point in the game," Tarkanian said. "I didn't see what happened."

Jermaine Fowlkes led Fresno State (21-12) with 25 points.

The second meeting between Fresno State and Minnesota was much tighter that the first, a 92-72 Gopher victory in December. The teams went at each other hard from the outset, and went to overtime tied, 77-77.

Penn State 66, Georgia 60--Freshman Joe Crispin scored 18 points to help the Nittany Lions (19-12) earn a shot at a sweep of the NIT championships with a semifinal victory over Georgia (19-15) at New York.

During a timeout with Penn State leading, 55-54, late in the game, the crowd was informed that Penn State had won the women's NIT by beating Baylor.

Penn State fans erupted into chants of "We are Penn State" and the Nittany Lions responded by outscoring the Bulldogs, 11-6, in the final 3:42.

Freshman Jumaine Jones led Georgia with 23 points.

WOMEN

Lisa Shepherd and Helen Darling each made a free throw in the final 20 seconds as Penn State (21-13) held off Baylor, 59-56, in the championship game of the women's NIT in Waco, Texas.

The Bears (20-11) had the ball trailing, 57-56, with under 30 seconds left. But Amy Alcala was called for traveling after rebounding a Toya Ellis miss, and Penn State hung on for the win.

Shepherd, the tournament's most valuable player, led Penn State with 16 points. Darling finished with eight points and six assists.

Baylor's Lara Webb scored 21 of her 26 points in the second half as the Bears rallied from a 10-point deficit and even led, 51-49, with 3:41 to play.

But Shepherd led a balanced stretch drive with an outside jumper and a late free throw, as Penn State outscored Baylor, 10-5, the rest of the way.

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