Winston Shepard scored 13 points and Trey Kell added 11 as the San Diego State held off Boise State in a defensive battle Saturday night. James Webb III led all scorers with 17 for Boise State, but a three pointer in the final seconds fell short as the Aztecs move into sole position of first place in the Mountain West standings.
Both teams struggled mightily in the first half to muster any sort of offense, mostly due to fantastic Aztec defense. The Broncos didn't make a field goal until a Zach Haney jumper with 12:53 remaining in the first half. SDSU had a tough time breaking the seal on the hoop as well, having only eight points at the under-12 timeout. For the next 12 minutes, the Aztecs and Broncos scratched its way to a 26-25 score at the break.
Things started to pick up in the second half. BSU's James Webb III and SDSU's Winston Shepard had a number of consecutive baskets for their respective teams. Shepard was huge in the post, clawing and hustling for loose balls which eventually led to scores. San Diego State was extremely active on the glass, grabbing 13 offensive rebounds and out-rebounding the Broncos by 12 boards.
SDSU had its largest lead of the game after Trey Kell converted a jumper with 5:35 remaining, giving the Aztecs a 54-44 advantage. The Aztecs made it very difficult on the Bronco offense, which entered the game as the 52nd best offense in the country, according to KenPom. Boise State entered the game averaging 78.6 points per game, and finished 25 points below its average. BSU had three separate scoring droughts of over three minutes in the second half, including only two made baskets in the last nine and a half minutes.
San Diego State's defense was flawless throughout the night. Boise State did not convert a three pointer until a Nick Duncan prayer went down with 21 seconds left in the game. The Broncos finished 1-17 from beyond the arc, as the Aztec perimeter defense swarmed the Boise State shooters. Two starters on the Broncos finished without scoring a point: Lonnie Jackson (0-1) and Anthony Drmic (0-3).
It was a huge win for San Diego State Saturday night, entering a hostile environment and ending Boise State's school-best winning streak, which was halted at 10 games. SDSU extends its streak of wins when leading with five minutes remaining to 156 straight games.
When these two meet again on February 27th, the winner will likely have a very high chance of taking home the Mountain West regular season crown. Until then, expect the Broncos and Aztecs to be neck and neck atop the MW standings.
Boise State will host San Jose State Wednesday night.
San Diego State heads back home to battle Fresno State on Tuesday.