The Broncos bested the Utah State Aggies 88-83 in their last meeting on Jan. 18. The Broncos had a colossal second half, putting up 50 points to push the game into overtime where they would eventually win. This time around the result was different.
Boise State was on the road this time on Feb. 8 and the Aggies came out on top 70-61, snapping the Broncos’ five-game winning streak and dropping them to a tie for third place in the Mountain West.
Here are my hot takes.
The Broncos needed to win the free-throw battle
Both teams were in foul trouble all night, combining for 49 total fouls. The Aggies went 30-for-35 from the free-throw line and the Broncos went 11-for-19. The Broncos never gave themselves a shot to win with the number of fouls they committed. To be fair, there were some pretty bad calls. Two Broncos in Robin Jorch and RJ Willaims fouled out and RayJ Dennis and Derrick Alston picked up four fouls each. Three of the Broncos’ starting five led the team in fouls.
In the end, both teams committed too many fouls, but that just attests to a hard-fought game. If the Broncos would have won the free-throw battle, they might have moved on to a six-game win streak.
Boise State’s leading scorer got nothing going
Derrick Alston is averaging 18.5 points per game, but only managed to put up seven points against the Aggies. Alston’s four fouls and seven points were underwhelming and were a big reason why the Broncos could not win. Justinian Jessup led the Broncos with 20 points followed by Alex Hobbs with 15. No other Bronco reached double-digits. The Broncos needed Alston, but he was unable to step up.
Alston is a valuable asset to this team and if he does not bounce back quickly, the Broncos’ season is as good as over.
The Aggies had an 8-0 run to finish the game
If the Broncos losing the free-throw battle and Alston only putting up seven points did not kill the Broncos, the Aggies’ 8-0 run to finish the game surely did. That’s right: the Aggies scored eight unattested points in the last minute of the game. The Broncos’ last points were a layup from Riley Abercrombie with a little over a minute on the clock to bring the game within one point. After that, the Broncos were quiet, except for a turnover and three missed attempts. The Broncos had a chance and they blew it.
The Broncos played poorly but with five games to go, they have a good chance of being seeded high in the Mountain West tournament. Next up, the Broncos are at home on Feb. 11 to take on Air Force, who they lost to earlier in the season.