Boise State falls to Utah State 72-62 in the Mountain West semi-finals

Corissa Campbell | The Arbiter

The Boise State men’s basketball fell to Utah State 72-62 in the semi-final round of the Mountain West Conference tournament.

The Utah State Aggies were considered one of the hottest teams coming into the Mountain West tournament after winning five games straight before the tournament started, which was the longest streak entering the tournament.  

The Aggies and Broncos shared the second-place spot in the Mountain West Conference after both teams went 13-5 in conference play. 

This game was one of the most anticipated matchups in the tournament since both teams —Boise State, second seed, and Utah State, third seed — played one another just six days before going to the Mountain West tournament. 

Though the Broncos lost 86-73 in their previous matchup with the Aggies, the Mountain West tournament was a moment to prove themselves.

The first half felt almost as electric as Boise State’s quarterfinal game against UNLV

The Broncos brought the energy to Tomas and Mack Arena once again, with sophomore forward Tyson Degenhart opening the game with a quick three. 

[Photo of senior guard Max Rice.]
Corissa Campbell | The Arbiter

Despite immense success from the starting lineup in the quarterfinals, this game’s lineup changed earlier than normal. 

The Broncos’ offense lit up during the first half with the early incorporation of senior forward Lukas Milner and freshman guard Jace Whiting.

Despite the Aggies’ quick offense, the Bronco defense held them to just 38% from the field and 20% from three. 

To compliment the Broncos’ success on defense, the team went 54% from the field and 60% from three to help in a 36-28 at halftime lead. 

Though the eight-point lead seemed sufficient, the Broncos couldn’t hold on to it, just like the 22-point lead they had over UNLV the night before.

To open the second half, the Aggies scored back-to-back three-pointers while the Broncos couldn’t get anything to fall.

With ten straight missed from the field, the Broncos allowed the Aggies an open opportunity to strengthen their lead.

“We got a lot of good looks,” Degenhart said. “Some of them just don’t fall in. That is basketball for you.”

The Aggies brought the score to a one-point difference with less than 10 minutes left on the clock.

With a technical foul called on fifth-year guard Marcus Shaver Jr. for flopping, the Aggies tied up the game 49-49. 

After tying the game, the Aggies never looked back.

The once flourishing Broncos struggled on offense, going just 28% from the field and 11% from behind the arc, while the Aggies dramatically improved from first half to second half, going 43% from both the field and from three. 

As the Broncos close this chapter of the season, there are still hopes for the NCAA Tournament. 

With Selection Sunday around the corner, the Broncos are hopeful for a bid to the beloved tournament.

“Our resume speaks for itself,” Degenhart said. “A couple of quad-1 wins and no quad-4 losses, like last year.”

Though the fate of the Broncos is in the hands of the selection committee, the Broncos have no more work to do.

“What a body of work we have,” head coach Leon Rice said. “When you stack it up … this is a great group that went out and built a great resume and the record reflects it … we have earned it and we are excited for Sunday, really excited.”

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