No James Webb? Not a problem.
Boise State (19-10, 10-6) shocked San Diego State (21-8, 14-2) Saturday afternoon at Viejas Arena, ending the Aztecs' incredible 164-game winning streak while leading with five minutes remaining.
Chandler Hutchison led the Broncos with 16 points before fouling out with 1:40 remaining, but after a Trey Kell free throw, Boise State finished the game with a 12-0 run. Trey Kell scored 17 points for San Diego State, but was 5-10 at the line as the Aztecs missed their last seven free throws.
San Diego State held a 58-54 advantage with five minutes remaining, and was up by nine with 100 seconds left. With an Aztec offensive rebound off a missed free throw, the game seemed all but decided. At that point, Boise State was a dismal 1-11 from deep (BSU shot 1-17 from 3 against SDSU in January), but Nick Duncan drilled a pair of 3s in the final 48 seconds to take an improbable lead with 0:23 left.
On the ensuing possession, Trey Kell lost the ball out of bounds with 2.4 seconds left. BSU's Anthony Drmic knocked down a pair of free throws and San Diego State was unable to tie the game in the final moments, ending a streak that will not soon be repeated.
All odds were against Boise State throughout the course of the afternoon. Boise State traveled to San Diego with its top player, junior forward James Webb, doubtful after a knee injury in the Broncos win on Tuesday over UNLV. Without a key front court member, many wondered if Boise State would try to rely more heavily on perimeter shooting, even despite its worst shooting performance of the season coming in January against the Aztecs.
Instead, Boise State attacked the basket early and often. Chandler Hutchison provided a much-needed spark off the bench, shooting 8-11 from the field including a trio of highlight-worthy dunks in the lane. Paris Austin continued his late season progress with a strong afternoon that included a few circus layups and a pair of key free throws late. Zach Haney also contributed in an expanded role due to Webb's absence, scoring three buckets and grabbing five rebounds.
Boise State proved once again that it is a team that no one can figure out. The Broncos have crumbled time and time again this season with late leads, but absolutely shocked the jam-packed Viejas Arena Saturday afternoon as they came from behind for a win that could propel a MWC tournament run.
All great streaks come to an end, and unfortunately for San Diego State, today was that day. The Aztecs will be the number seed in the Mountain West tournament, but SDSU can't seem to shake the offensive woes. San Diego State finished the day 20-45 (a decent 44.4%) but a horrible free throw performance in the closing possessions changed what would have been a solid victory to a heartbreaking defeat.
If the past two months weren't a strong indication, Saturday's game in San Diego once again proved that the MWC tourney at the Thomas & Mack Center will be unpredictable. Any team could heat up in the next few weeks and win two or three games to punch a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Expect the unexpected.
Boise State closes its regular season with a home matchup against Nevada and a road trip to San Jose State.
San Diego State heads to New Mexico and hosts senior day versus UNLV in its final game of the regular season.