No. 22 Aztecs Take Down Broncos 78-66 In Overtime Nail Biter
San Diego State takes sole possession of first place in Mountain West men’s basketball while extending their win streak to 9.
After blowing a 17-point lead in second half, Matt Mitchell and the Aztecs battle back to defeat Boise State.
San Diego, CA — The San Diego State Aztecs (18-4, 12-3 MW) defeated the Boise State Broncos (18-5, 14-4 MW) 78-66 in Viejas Arena on Thursday night. The Aztecs now have 9 straight wins, their season best, and won the first of two contests for first place in the Mountain West.
Tonight’s victory against a formidable and competitive Broncos team is a power win for Brian Dutcher’s Aztecs who are making the case to be the best in the conference. The Aztecs look very good for a solid at-large berth in the NCAA Tourney.
In the first half, Matt Mitchell and Trey Pulliam led the Aztecs to a 29-17 halftime lead. Boise State’s Derrick Alston Jr was cold until the very end of the half, but once he got going, the momentum shifted.
In the second half, the Aztecs stumbled. After extending their lead to 17, the Broncos powered back. The Aztecs, who dominated much of the game temporarily lost their mojo and Boise State got HOT. Alston scored 22 points in the second half, including seven straight at one point, to help bring the Broncos back from a 17-point deficit. A 14-0 Broncos run nearly wiped out the Aztecs’ lead.
Toward the end of the half things got nuts. The Aztecs, held a one-point lead before turning the ball over on a baseline inbounds. Then the Broncos turned it over right back…
Two free throws by Mitchell got the lead to three again, and then 24% three-point shooter RayJ Dennis sank his only tre of the game to tie with 9.3 seconds to go. Even though his foot was apparently on the line, the officials did not overturn the three.
The Aztecs were set to make the last shot, until Mitchell ran over his defender and got called for a charge with two seconds left. Nuts.
That was just enough time for Dennis to huck a half-court shot that thankfully wasn’t even close. The second half ended tied at 63-63.
Then, Brian Dutcher gave the smirk of a lifetime and overtime began.
The Aztecs instantly got to dominating the game, and proceeded to blow Boise State out during overtime, making their first four shots for a 72-65 lead they never gave back. The Broncos threw up repeated failed three point attempts, and some did not even connect with the rim.
In the end, the Aztecs crushed overtime with a twelve-point victory, after Matt Mitchell put the team on his back.
Mitchell led the Aztecs with 24 points, 9 rebounds. Pulliam posted 18 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists.
Alston Jr. led Boise State with 29 points (22 in the 2nd half), 2 rebounds and 2 assists. Devonaire Doutrive was the only other Bronco to manage double digits scoring with 10 points off the bench, 2 rebounds and 2 assists.
Game two of the battle for #1 takes place 1:00 p.m. PST Saturday, February 27th.
This game will be a must-watch.