Coming into this game, both teams wanted to solidify their at-large chances for the NCAA tournament. This game wouldn’t hurt either team drastically as it would qualify as a Quad 1 loss. Boise State was coming off of a win against UNLV while Colorado State had beaten Fresno State by double digits in their previous contest. This was a battle of Mountain West contenders, and it did not disappoint as the Rams escaped with a win in overtime 77-74.
With Emmanuel Akot out again due to a knee injury, Max Rice was inserted into the starting lineup for the Broncos. He took advantage of this, scoring 11 points in the first half. Colorado State held serve throughout most of the half, going up by as much as 13 and maintaining a solid lead until the last five minutes. After a pair of threes by Tyson Degenhart, who was announced on Monday as the Mountain West Freshman of the Week for the 7th time this season, the Broncos kept within six for the rest of the half. It tightened up even more right before intermission as Marcus Shaver Jr. drilled a three to bring Boise State within two.
The second half was no different with both teams battling on every possession. The first sign of separation showed with 11 minutes left as the Broncos took a seven point lead and had all of the momentum. Colorado State struck back with a 12-4 run over the next six minutes to take the lead back as the tension in ExtraMile Arena grew with each passing second. The Rams went up by three with 35 seconds remaining and it appeared that the Broncos would need an answered prayer to stay in the game.
If you know, you know.
Marcus Shaver Jr. took the ball and did his magic once again. A side-step to the top of the arc gave Shaver enough room to get a shot off and the ball fell right through rim, tying the game at 67 with eight seconds to go. Without getting stuck on the details, the ensuing possession was what I would describe as a total blunder and fiasco. After a series of timeouts, Isaiah Stevens ran the ball up the floor, but was stripped by Abu Kigab. Kigab then took possession and Stevens made contact with him. John Higgins, the lead official, blew the whistle for Kigab being out of bounds. Since the play occurred with under two minutes, the officials went to replay, and it was clear that Kigab did not step out of bounds. It could be argued that there was a travel by Kigab, but that is not reviewable. In the end, Higgins’ call was labeled an inadvertent whistle, which gave the ball back to Boise State with 1.8 seconds. Abu Kigab had a decent look on a deep two from the corner, but it clanged off the iron.
Overtime stayed hotly contested as it came down to the last minute of play. After David Roddy converted on a tip-in off of an offensive rebound for Colorado State, Mladen Armus reigned in an offensive rebound of his own. Armus was fouled prior to the shot, putting him on the line for a one and one to tie the game. He made the first with relative ease, but the second came up a bit short as it grazed the front of the rim. Two Ram free throws extended the lead to three and left little time for the Broncos to get a good shot. Shaver reached beyond half-court before forcing up a desperation three as time expired, but David Roddy emphatically swatted the shot away.
Three Colorado State players scored double figures—Roddy, Stevens, and rotational player Chandler Jacobs. The Rams were perfect from the charity stripe, capitalizing on 11 attempts. They shot 50 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from three-point range. All other stats were comparable to Boise State.
The Broncos were led in scoring by Max Rice and Marcus Shaver Jr., both scoring 17 points. Big men Tyson Degenhart and Mladen Armus also scored double digits, raking in 16 and 11, respectively. Of note, Degenhart went a perfect four for four from beyond the arc. The most surprising stat of the night for Boise State was their three-point shooting. Leon Rice’s crew shot 13 of 24, good enough for 54.2 percent.
As we near the final stretch in Mountain West play, Colorado State will get to breath a slight sigh of relief with their upcoming games. They will travel to “The Pit” to battle New Mexico on Thursday, February 17. This is followed by a tilt in Las Vegas against UNLV on Saturday. The New Mexico game is scheduled for 7:00 MST and will air on Fox Sports 1 (FS1).
As for Boise State, they will travel to Colorado Springs and take on Air Force. The matchup is slated for tomorrow, February 16th, and will be televised on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) at 8:00 MST. This is the last game that could single-handedly derail the Broncos’ hopes of an at-large bid.