Broncos complete comeback with thrilling 88-83 OT victory over Aggies

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In a game that was almost entirely controlled by the Aggies, the Boise State men’s basketball team completed a comeback with an 88-83 win in overtime against the Utah State Aggies at ExtraMile Arena on Saturday, Jan. 18.

“I can’t remember a better win in my 10 years here,” said head coach Leon Rice. “We’ve had some great runs over the years, but that one was pretty special.”

Three minutes into the game, the Aggies got things going on the offensive end. All five starters scored and Utah State took an early 14-2 lead, forcing the Broncos to take their first timeout of the half.  

Coming out of the timeout, the Broncos continued to hurt themselves with turnovers, allowing the Aggies to widen their gap to 25-13.  

Despite committing several turnovers, the Broncos took advantage of Utah State’s early foul trouble. Boise State attacked the basket and got to the foul line, allowing them to shoot free throws and put points on the board.

The Aggies, who had 10 fouls going into the half, continued to put pressure on the Broncos with their fast-paced offense. They scored 10 second-chance points and 10 points on Bronco turnovers.  

In the final minutes of the opening half, the Broncos proved just how dangerous they can be from beyond the arc. After a pair of made threes, the Broncos found themselves trailing 38-25 heading into the locker room.

Coming out of halftime, the fans in ExtraMile Arena provided an extra boost for the Broncos. In the first five minutes, Boise State looked like a different team on both sides of the ball.

After a couple of defensive stops and a 3-pointer by Justinian Jessup, the Broncos cut the deficit to 42-33, causing the Aggies to call a timeout to regroup

Throughout the rest of the second half, the Aggies got the ball inside to their big men and got to the foul line, allowing them to extend their lead to as much as 19 points.

With three minutes remaining the Broncos, trailing by 14, started to utilize their press defense, causing the Aggies to get out of sync. 

After the Aggies committed a few turnovers trying to break the press, freshman guard RayJ Dennis made three consecutive 3-pointers, cutting the Broncos’ deficit to three points, 66-63, with under a minute to go.

“I put a lot of work in and I am confident in myself,” Dennis said. “You see one go through and the basket just gets bigger.”

With 8.9 seconds left in regulation, the Broncos were down 75-70. Dennis made his fourth 3-pointer in a row. On the following inbound pass, Jessup’s steal and layup tied the game at 75-75, forcing the game into overtime.

“We were gonna fight until the very end, no matter what happened,” said senior guard Marcus Dickinson. “We’re a really special team.”

With all the momentum heading into the five-minute overtime, the Broncos kept on with their stifling defense and relentless shooting, allowing them to complete the comeback and finish with a thrilling 88-83 victory over the Aggies.

After scoring zero points in the first half, Dennis led the way for the Broncos with a team-high 19 points in the remainder. Utah State’s Sam Merrill scored a game-high 30 points, including 18 points in the second half.

Boise State (12-8, 4-4 MW) will continue their conference schedule at Fresno State on Jan. 25 at 6 p.m. MT.

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