'Big Blue' torments 'Pistol Pete' for $100

RENO, Nev. -- The mascots for Utah State and
New Mexico State got physical with each other down the stretch of the teams'
Western Athletic Conference tournament semifinal Friday night.

During a timeout with 7 seconds left and New Mexico State
leading 70-69, Utah State's mascot, "Big Blue" the bull, confronted New Mexico State's "Pistol Pete" cowboy mascot and ripped off
his fake mustache.

The cowboy then chased the bull to halfcourt, jumped on his
back and tried unsuccessfully to pull him to the floor.

"Pistol Pete" then started to try to choke his rival before retreating to his end of
the court.

Several newspaper photographers covering the game said they
heard a man in a Nevada shirt offer the Utah State mascot $100 to
go grab the mustache.

The man confirmed to The Associated Press
that was true and that he paid the mascot the $100, but declined to
provide his name. He said he did not expect New Mexico State's "Pistol Pete" to
respond the way he did.

WAC commissioner Karl Benson was watching the game but said he
missed the incident.

After fans for both teams started booing, Utah State's Tai
Wesley caught an inbounds pass at the top of the lane and passed to
Tyler Newbold on the left wing.

Newbold's 15-foot shot rolled off the
rim, hit the backboard and rolled in with 3.1 seconds on the clock
to help Utah State (29-4) overcome a 13-point deficit for a 71-70
win to set a school record for victories in a season.

Utah State, the league's regular-season champion, advanced
to Saturday night's WAC final against second-seeded Nevada.