BSU loses another close game to No. 18 SDSU
Boise State showed how little difference there really is between
the eighth seed and the top seed in the competitive Mountain West
It took Jamaal Franklin’s off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer to
give top-seeded and No. 18 San Diego State a 65-62 victory over No.
8 seed Boise State in the MWC tournament opener Thursday.
Franklin, the MWC Player of the Year, lifted the Aztecs (25-6)
after they got sloppy against the scrappy Broncos (13-17).
It was the second time in three games that the Broncos played
close against the Aztecs.
On Feb. 1 in San Diego, the Aztecs won only after Thomas Bropleh
missed an open 3-point shot from the corner as the final seconds
ticked off in a two-point game. SDSU won at BSU 66-53 on Feb.
”This league is raising our level of play,” Boise State coach
Leon Rice said. ”This league raises the bar. Four of our last five
games have been against Top 25 teams. We made mistakes freshmen are
going to make. The competition in this league is awesome.”
The Aztecs squandered an eight-point lead in the final three
minutes. Xavier Thames’ turnover against a full-court press set up
BSU’s Thomas Bropleh for an inside shot to tie at 62 with 26
seconds left. The Aztecs called timeout to set up the final shot.
Franklin put it up over Bropleh and then fell on his backside as
the ball went through.
”I mean, we’re an extremely young team,” Anthony Drmic said.
”We’ve got a lot of experience throughout the year, a lot of
freshmen playing. We’re going to be back next year. Just play
harder, play more together and hopefully get more wins next
Chase Tapley scored 20 for the Aztecs, Franklin had 19 and
Thames 14. Drmic finished with 19 points for the Broncos while
Bropleh added 11 and Derrick Marks and Kenny Buckner 10 apiece.
Boise State dominated the Aztecs on the boards, 31-22.
Tapley scored 10 points during what seemed to be the decisive
stretch for the Aztecs, who are trying to win their third straight
MWC tournament title. The Aztecs were supposed to be rebuilding
after losing four starters off last year’s round of 16 team,
including Kawhi Leonard to the NBA. They shared the regular-season
title with New Mexico and got the top seed for the tournament on a
Boise State played the Aztecs tough until midway through the
second half, when the Broncos’ shots stopped falling and Tapley got
With the Aztecs leading 45-42, Tapley made a layup, two
3-pointers and a baseline jumper in the next four minutes to help
give SDSU a 57-46 lead. Boise State countered only with a baseline
shot by Dmric and two free throws by Ryan Watkins.
Tapley hit another 3 with 3:01 left for a 60-52 lead. Drmic
answered with a 3-pointer and Marks made a layup and converted a
three-point play with 1:12 left to pull the Broncos to 60-58.
Franklin made a layup before Drmic was fouled taking a
3-pointer. He made two of the three free throws to again make it a
two-point game with 37.8 seconds to play.
Tapley had the ball for the Aztecs but was closely guarded by
two Broncos. He threw wildly to Thames, who in a desperate attempt
to keep it inbounds threw it toward the key. The Broncos got it and
Bropleh put up the tying shot.
The Broncos led 26-17 on Buckner’s shot off a rebound with 6:53
to go before halftime.
SDSU came back on 3-pointers by Thames and James Rahon and a
slam dunk by Franklin. Tapley’s 3-pointer with 1:25 to go gave the
Aztecs a 30-28 lead, their first since early on. Marks and Buckner
made bank shots in the final minute for a 32-30 BSU lead that stood
at halftime after Tapley missed a 3 at the buzzer.