BOISE, Idaho (ABC4 Sports) – It was an epic rally by Boise State and a devastating loss by Utah State.
Marcus Dickinson gathered his Boise State teammates as the Broncos trailed by 18 points, 66-48, with 4:10 remaining in regulation. His words were simple, but they laid the foundation for a historic comeback.
“At that point in the game we don’t have anything to lose,” Dickinson said. “We’re a really special team and all we needed was to get over that hump.”
A Bronco 14-0 run trimmed the lead to four, 66-62, with 1:25 left to play in regulation. USU held a five-point lead, 75-70, with seven seconds to play, but a Boise State 3-pointer and layup tied it up at 75-75 to send the game to overtime.
Boise State outscored Utah State 27-9 over the rest of regulation, including 19 points from freshman RayJ Dennis in the final 3:27, to send the game to overtime where the Broncos (12-8, 4-4 MW) won 88-83 at ExtraMile Arena.
The Aggies (14-6, 3-4 MW) made two free throws with 8.9 seconds left to lead by five points. Dennis hurried down the floor and made a pull-up three-pointer. Justinian Jessup stole the ensuing inbound pass and made a contested layup to tie the game with 1.9 seconds remaining.
Dennis was 5-for-5 from the floor, including four three-pointers, to go with a 5-for-5 mark at the free throw line.
“I put a lot of work in and I’m confident in myself,” Dennis said of his late takeover. “You see one go through and the basket just gets bigger.”
Boise State held onto the momentum for a seven-point lead, 88-81, with 24 seconds to play in overtime. A layup from Abel Porter brought the final score to 88-83. Porter’s layup marked the first made USU field goal in 10:17.
USU was led by Sam Merrill with 30 points, Neemias Queta with 12 points and Porter with 10. Justin Bean recorded his 11th double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Boise State was led by redshirt junior guard Derrick Alston Jr. and freshman guard Rayj Dennis with 19 points each.
Utah State shot 41.3 percent (26-of-63) from the field, 21.4 percent (6-of-28) from behind the arc and 75.8 percent (25-of-33) at the free throw line. Boise State shot 46.4 percent (26-of-56) from the floor, 37.5 percent (9-of-24) from behind the 3-point line and 79.4 percent (27-of-34) at the free throw line.
The Aggies will next have a two-game homestand as USU hosts Air Force (9-10, 3-4 MW) on Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 9 p.m. Utah State will then take on Colorado State (13-7, 4-3 MW) on Saturday, Jan. 25, at 8 p.m.