With two seconds left in regulation in front of a packed crowd of 6,143 and the game tied at 58-58, BYU’s Jake Toolson went up for a jump shot in the paint and missed. Derrick Alson snagged the rebound and held onto the ball as the clock expired, and the game went into overtime.
In the 2018-19 season, the Broncos were unable to win in both overtime games that they faced —but this time was different. Boise State pulled off a 72-68 win, proving that they have improved and are tougher than the previous season.
“That exercised some demons, and that wasn’t an easy one to do. We had to come back, and we had a great back and forth game there in the second half and they threw some good punches, we threw some counter punches,” said head coach Leon Rice. “Our guys toughed it out there in the end… it wasn’t because we made shots, we ran way better on offense and moved the ball way better and got better shots. We just maybe didn’t shoot it as confident as [we are]going to down the road.”
It was not the best night for the Broncos shooting-wise, but RJ Williams and Alston stepped up. Williams was 6-6 with 18 points before he fouled out. Alston became the first Bronco to score at least 20 points per game in the first three games of the season since Roberto Bergersen (1998-99), and his momentum did not stop in the fourth game as he led the team with 26 points. Now, Alston is the only Bronco that has scored at least 20 points in the first four games since Boise State became a four-year university.
Alston had his first double-double against BYU and leads the Mountain West in scoring, but stayed humble and chose to credit his team for his success.
“It’s just playing, having fun with these guys, getting to go to work with these guys every single day,” Alston said. “And they put a lot of confidence in me. I try to divvy up that swagger that we call it. Everyone just wishes the best for me and it’s good. So I just try to go out there and perform and do [what]I can to help us win.”
Justinian Jessup, who has been so pivotal at times for the Broncos, went 1-9 in regulation. Things turned around for Jessup in overtime, when the team needed it the most.
With 2:26 to go in overtime, Jessup hit a three, putting the Broncos ahead 72-68. With 40 seconds to play, Jessup stole the ball and ran back unblocked for a dunk. Jessup had seven of the Broncos’ 14 points in overtime.
“I mean, it was cool, I guess, I just took the opportunity when I found it, but I mean, this guy [Alston] really carried us through the whole game to be honest,” Jessup said. “I was playing awful… I made a couple but, you know, I got to see why we were there in the first place.”
The Broncos set an all-time record for points scored in a game on their first game of the season . After that, they went 0-2. They first lost to Oregon 106-75, then to UC Irvine 69-60. The Broncos played harder on defense keeping the game close in their win over BYU, something that had been lacking in their losses. And when the Broncos found themselves in overtime for the first time this season, they knew they needed this win.
“It was like, ‘we’re winning this, this is not how it’s going to go this year. We’re flipping the switch, flipping the story, like, we’re gonna win this,’” Alston said.
The Broncos move to 2-2 on the season and are on the road to take on the Pacific Tigers on Saturday, Nov. 23.