One team's euphoria, another team's heartbreak.
That's all you can really say about the game that took place Saturday night. A couple great performances, more than a couple clutch shots, and one last second shot I'll get into in a bit. In the end the Boise State Broncos walked off the court with a win and the Runnin' Rebels with a loss.
This game wasn't meaningful in terms of either team catching up with San Diego State and New Mexico. That ship has sailed. While Boise State could potentially win out and make the NCAA Tournament without winning the MWC Championship. After last night, the Runnin' Rebels will almost certainly have to win the MWC Championship to earn a trip to March Madness.
Both teams got off to a hot start with Boise State making 11 of their first 13 field goals, but made only 7 of 20 afterward. UNLV went 18 of 33 in the first half and ultimately found themselves ahead 39-38 going into the second half. Boise State forward Ryan Watkins led all scorers at the half going 6 of 6 with 12 points.
Right from the tip, UNLV guard Deville Smith looked like a different player. Perhaps with the news of San Francisco guard Cody Doolin transferring to UNLV for the upcoming season, Smith came out with something to prove Saturday night. Whatever it was, Deville played a fantastic game and provided a much needed spark to a Rebel offense coming off one of their worst performances Wednesday night against New Mexico. He finished the night with 22 points and 7 assists. Going 9 of 15 from the field and 2 of 4 from three point range.
Boise State went on occasional runs to catch up with the Rebels, but as the second half went on UNLV gained a comfortable 73-64 lead with 4:09 remaining. The Runnin' Rebels had absolutely no one to blame but themselves for allowing this game to go into overtime.
After starting the game going 10 of 14 from the line, UNLV missed 6 of their final 10 shots in regulation. Giving Boise State an opportunity to send the game into extra minutes.
Junior guard Derrick Marks, who scored all 13 of Boise State's points in overtime, once again found himself with the ball as time was set to expire in OT. He appeared as though he was about to drive in with Bryce Dejean-Jones covering him well. But with a mere step-back, Marks created enough space to take a solid jump-shot to put the Broncos ahead by one with 3.4 seconds remaining.
With no timeouts remaining Deville Smith raced down the court, pulled up at the top of the key and took what appeared to be the game winning shot. It looked as though Boise State would suffer yet another heartbreaking defeat in conference play.
But after further review...
Referee Randy McCall brought coaches Dave Rice and Leon Rice over to the scorers table after reviewing the play twice. After hearing the verdict, Leon Rice delivered a double fist pump to the crowd of 9,010 and the building erupted.
Deville Smith's shot was as close as it can really get. But after close examination, his fingers were still touching the ball when the clock was at zero. They made the right call.
Boise State now improves to 18-9, 8-6 in conference play and will now hit the road to face Fresno State (14-14, 7-8 MW) Wednesday night at 9:00 PM ET in a game that can be seen on CBS Sports Network. While UNLV will return to the Thomas and Mack Center hoping to get some revenge against Colorado State (15-13, 6-9 MW) Wednesday night after an extremely poor performance at Moby Arena earlier this month. This game will also be televised on CBS Sports Network following the Boisie State/Fresno State game at 11:05 PM ET.