Coach Leon Rice told the media earlier in the week that he wanted Taco Bell Arena to be packed and loud Saturday night, and the fans did not disappoint.
The Broncos held off the 24th ranked Oregon Ducks Saturday while preventing what would have been a massive collapse. For the second consecutive game, Boise State won on the final possession. Dillon Brooks (who led the Ducks with 26) was unable to finish a drive that would have tied the game at 74 apiece.
Boise State struggled down the stretch, turning the ball over on each of its last three possessions. The Broncos led 67-50 after a three pointer by Anthony Drmic, who had 19 points.
James Webb (12 points) and Mikey Thompson (11 points) also reached double figures for Boise. Chandler Hutchison and Zach Haney were key off the bench. Hutchison drew a charge and connected on a put-back to push the Bronco lead to 74-65 with 1:48 left, which were Boise State's final points. Haney didn't miss a basket, hitting a three pointer and two other field goals while pressuring on the defensive side and hustling after every loose ball.
The first 20 minutes were divided by two major runs. Oregon started the game firing off all cylinders. The Ducks connected on seven of its first eight shots and jumped out to a 21-11 lead. Boise State immediately answered with a 30-7 stretch of its own to take a 13-point lead into the half, 41-28. After the hot start for Oregon, the Ducks only connected on one of its next 13 shot attempts.
Although the Broncos had a comfortable lead at halftime, the game came down to the final possession. Oregon came roaring back from a 17-point deficit to pull within two with 49 seconds remaining. However, the 21-9 run to end the game was not enough for the Ducks.
The Broncos were short-handed tonight after Montigo Alford rolled his ankle 10 minutes into the game and did not return. Paris Austin, who logged three minutes in the last two games and is recovering from strep throat, was key to the Broncos win.
Boise State also was challenged down low after James Webb picked up his fourth foul with 13 minutes left in the game, forcing Boise State to get creative in order to hold off Oregon.
This was a massive victory for Boise State. After competing but crumbling against three ranked teams earlier in the year, the Broncos were finally able to pick up a key non-conference win. If the Broncos can carry tonight's momentum into conference play, Boise State will be in a great spot to reach the big dance for the second year in a row.
Boise State has its final exams this week and will return to the hardwood next Sunday against Bradley.