RENO, Nev. (AP) Texas-El Paso got off the NCAA bubble.
Filiberto Rivera scored 17 of his 32 points in the last 6 minutes to help the Miners earn an NCAA berth with a 91-78 victory over Boise State on Saturday night in the championship of the Western Athletic Conference tournament.
"We know we're dancing now," said Rivera, the tourney MVP who had eight assists and made 11 of 12 free throws - going 8-for-8 in the final 2:15.
John Tofi added 21 points, Omar Thomas had 15 and Giovanni St. Amant 13 for the second-seeded Miners (27-7), who shot 67 percent from the field in the second half to claim their seventh win in a row.
"We knew if we got our job done, there would be no ifs," Tofi said.
Coby Karl had 24 points, and Jason Ellis added 16 for the eighth-seeded Broncos (16-18), who upset top-seeded Nevada and Fresno State to become the lowest seed ever to advance to the WAC title game.
"They just outplayed us," Ellis said.
The Miners are 21-0 when scoring 70 or more this season. Their 27 wins are the most since they went 27-7 and reached the final 16 in the 1992 NCAA tournament.
Coach Don Sadler believed they deserved an NCAA berth even if they didn't win the postseason title after finishing second in the league behind regular-season champ and 24th-ranked Nevada.
"If what they say is true, they would take the 65 best teams and we were one of them. We had faith in them (the selection committee)," Sadler said. "But believe me, I'm glad we are not particularly worried now."
The Broncos hit five of their first seven from the field, but only five of their next 21 and had six turnovers in the first 13 minutes of the game. They finished with 15 turnovers to UTEP's seven.
"It hurts, but I'm proud that we got this far," said Ellis, who became the 16th Bronco in school history to top 1,000 career points.
Boise State coach Greg Graham said he expects UTEP to make some noise in the NCAA tournament.