San Diego State vs Boise State: Aztecs freeze late, lose 58-57.

San Diego State vs Boise State: Aztecs freeze late, lose 58-57.

San Diego State

San Diego State vs Boise State: Aztecs freeze late, lose 58-57.


San Diego State vs Boise State: Aztecs freeze late, lose 58-57.

Brian Dutcher’s team loses on free throws.

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San Diego State loses the game late.

SDSU went to Idaho Tuesday night looking to secure a Quad 1 victory against Boise State for their NCAA tournament resume but walked away with a 58-57 loss with five games left in the regular season.

Boise State’s Marcus Shaver, known to close out games during conference play, missed a deep contested three-pointer to win the game with 11 seconds left. The miss was rebounded by Matt Bradley who was quickly fouled by Abu Kigab.

Bradley, who scored a majority of his points in the second half, missed the two ensuing free throws. Boise State forward Mladen Armus secured the rebound and pass the ball to Abu Kigab who was fouled by Nathan Mensah with 1.7 seconds left. Kigab, a career 67.8 percent free-throw shooter, made two shots and sealed the win over the Aztecs.

Tuesday’s match played like a heavyweight rematch of their January meeting, physical defenses meeting clutch shots every possession. The Aztecs punched first going on an 8-2 run down to the first media timeout. Then the Broncos threw a flurry of punches with an 18-2 run including Naje Smith completing the rare four-point play that pushed the lead to 30-20 at the half.

San Diego State’s offense did not come alive until the second half when they scored 37 points and kept chipping away at the Boise lead. The team shot 52.2 percent from the field, and 85.7 percent from deep, including Chad Baker-Mazara hitting a three-point shot late giving the Aztecs a slim one-point lead.

The Aztecs converted more shots and kept the Broncos to 34 percent from the field, but the game was won at the free-throw line. Boise State is dead last in the league at free throw shooting with 64.3 percent and on Tuesday night they were 65.4 percent. However, the home team benefited from 17-of-26 attempts from the charity stripe. The visitors were called for 24 fouls and entered the bonus at the 8:36 mark in the second half which did not bear well for the San Diego State who only went 7-of-11 on foul shots.

Leon Rice’s team simply had more free trips than Dutcher’s.

The slow and cold first half did not aid the Aztecs. Bradley, who only scored two points in the first period, encountered smothering defense from both Ajab and Emmanuel Akot, and had a tough time creating space for clean looks. It was clear they could not solve Boise State’s length this time around too. The 6-foot-8 Akot towered over the 6-foot-1 Butler disrupting his offensive rhythm and early foul trouble from Nathan Mensah and Trey Pulliam limited their opportunities.

Boise State came prepared for every punch and defended home court in front of less than capacity Tuesday night crowd. The Aztecs are in a pressure cooker to win out the rest of the way to build back their Tournament resume.

Up Next

San Diego State goes back to California with a home game against San Jose on Friday and will take on Wyoming on Monday evening. Boise State will go to UNLV on Saturday and will host Nevada on Tuesday.


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