The Broncos actually came out toe-to-toe in the first half, but it didn't take long until they turned flat allowing the Aztecs to go on a 17-0 tear that lasted for 8 minutes. That game changer showed the Broncos first hand why the Aztecs are in the top four nationally in scoring defense. Dwayne Polee started the 17-point Aztec run with a 3-pointer, Aqeel Quinn put in two more 3-pointers, and Winston Shepard helped with 3 more points. At one time San Diego’s lead was 18 points before Boise State finally started getting back into it. The Broncos 10 turnovers in the first half accounted for 16 Aztecs points.
Boise State started to show some effort after the Aztec run beginning with a basket by Ryan Watson. Derrick Marks followed up by putting up 9 points and dropping in a 3-pointer to end the half and pulling the Broncos within 8. The teams went into their locker rooms with the Broncos down 26-34 to the Aztecs.
The second half was a little different story on both sides of the ball, but it was still an all too familiar one for the Broncos. While they only turned the ball over 3 more times in the second half and out rebounded the Aztecs 37-32, they failed to finish. Boise State actually closed the gap by outscoring the Aztecs in the second half and went to the wire with a chance to win. The Broncos had the final drive with 36 seconds to go, and were down by a single point when Anthony Drmic pulled down a rebound off a missed three point jumper by Quinn. The Broncos brought it down the court in a steady, methodical plan of attack. With 36 seconds to go, the clock ran down to 5 seconds when Marks went up for a jumper that failed. Thames grabbed the rebound for the Aztecs and was immediately fouled. He made both free-throws to end the game 69-66.
The top performer for the Broncos was Dereck Marks, who had 21 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists, while Xavier Thames was the top player on the Aztec squad with 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 steals.
San Diego State, now ranked 13 in the AP and 15 in the Coaches Poll, will play Air Force in Clune Arena, Colorado Springs on Sunday, January 15, at 2 PM MT.
Boise State, picked in the preseason to finish second in the Mountain West, returns home to play Wyoming on Saturday, January 11, 7 PM MT in Taco Bell Arena.
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