Colorado State was about to ring out 2016 with a gutsy road win against one of the better teams in the Mountain West. But a buzzer-beating, banked 3-pointer by Boise State’s Chandler Hutchison propelled the Broncos to a 74-73 over the Rams.
Gian Clavell got off to a hot start, scoring five points in the opening four minutes. Other than Clavell though, CSU (9-6, 1-1) struggled early on at Taco Bell Arena.
But CSU led 22-19 with 7:11 to go in the first half. The Rams benefitted from a 7-0 run over a 2:21 stretch where Clavell continued to make shots. The senior guard scored 13 of the team’s first 20 points.
In a half reminiscent of the game against Colorado last month, it was CSU’s defense that allowed them to extend their lead despite struggling to produce quality possessions on offense. However, the Broncos took advantage of CSU miscues, scoring nine of their first 19 points off turnovers.
Larry Eustachy’s crew held Boise State without a field goal for the final 8:12 of the half. The Broncos finished 0-for-9 and made just two of their last 18 shots before halftime.
The Rams shot 33 percent while the Broncos were held to just 26 percent, including 1-of-13 from beyond the arc. CSU had a huge advantage at the free throw line, making 10-of-12 from the charity stripe. Boise State, meanwhile, hit just 10-of-21 free throws in the first half.
Both teams turned it around offensively in the second half. The Broncos started out white-hot, making their first five shots. About midway through, Boise State grabbed the lead for the first time since early in the game.
But the Rams would answer on a Clavell 3-pointer. CSU went on its stretch where they couldn’t miss, going 6-for-6 at one point.
Personal fouls wound up being an issue for both teams though. At the 7:43 mark, both teams were in the bonus. Boise State got out of their funk at the line, going 7-of-9 in the second half.
CSU clung to a lead that wouldn’t get above six points the rest of the way. And with 2:17 remaining, the game was tied. An Omogbo layup gave the Rams a lead again at 71-69.
The teams were tied for the final minute at 71 until Braden Koelliker grabbed a critical offensive rebound before making an eventual circus shot to make it 73-71 for CSU.
Boise State called timeout with five seconds to go and needing to go the length of the floor to get a decent last-second look. Hutchison took the ball down himself and banked in a 3-pointer as time expired.
The Broncos made five of their last six shots while the Rams made just two of their last eight.
BY THE NUMBERS
49 – Points for the Broncos in the second half, compared to just 25 in the first
20 – Points off turnovers for Boise State, while the Rams scored only six points off turnovers
0 – Combined points for J.D. Paige, Nico Carvacho, Devocio Butler and Che Bob
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Omogbo – The forward showed off his offensive game in this one, scoring 22 points off 5-of-9 from the field. Omogbo hit a trio of 3-pointers. He came one rebound shy of a double-double.
Clavell – He’s looking more and more like his 2015 self. Clavell also totaled 22 points, going 8-of-16 and 4-of-6 from deep. Omogbo, Clavell and Prentiss Nixon combined for 54 of the CSU’s 73 points.
CSU outplayed Boise State nearly the entire game. The Rams led for all but 5:56 and got beat on an extremely low percentage shot. Nevertheless, it’s the third loss this season that’s come in the final seconds.
Eustachy and company will be back on the road Wednesday night as they meet San Jose State. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.