LAS VEGAS And now they wait.
The Boise State Broncos will anxiously wait until Selection Sunday to see if they land their first-ever at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament after losing to San Diego State 73-67 late Wednesday night in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West mens basketball tournament.
Widely considered on the "bubble" in most tournament projections, the loss may not have burst it, but the Broncos' status is suddenly a lot more precarious.
"It sucks that we couldn't win, seal it and say, 'Hey, we're in,'" Boise State guard Jeff Elorriaga said. "We didn't want to be in a situation where we have to hope other teams lose. We wanted to control our own destiny, but we weren't able to do that."
Boise State coach Leon Rice, pointing to the Broncos' win at then-No. 11 Creighton, along with victories over three teams in the top 32 in the RPI rankings (UNLV, Colorado State, San Diego State), thinks he will hear his team's name Sunday (4 p.m., CBS).
"Our resume will stand up to anybody's, I think," Rice said. "We've done everything we could."
The Broncos (21-10) and Aztecs (22-9) played yet another close contest Wednesday four of the teams prior five meetings were decided by a total of 10 points but San Diego State won its 91st straight game when leading with five minutes to play. Steve Fisher, the Aztecs' head coach, doesn't think the Broncos need to be nervous Sunday.
"This league is so good, if Boise doesn't get in the tournament, I'm going to demand a re-vote," he said.
Trailing 49-36 in the second half, the Broncos rattled off 14 straight points by going with an all-guard lineup to take their first lead of the game at 50-49 with 8 minutes, 28 seconds to go.
However, the tournament-tested Aztecs, who have reached four straight Mountain West championships, made 18-of-21 free throws and were 10-of-19 from the field in the second half.
"I don't know if we kind of peaked too early," Rice said. " they made some big shots down the stretch.
"I was really proud of the way our guys didn't fold it up, didn't get their heads down. That's true to form. That's how they've been all year."
As has been the case all year, sophomore guard Derrick Marks found a bit of a groove in the second half, but it came after quite a rut. Marks missed his first 12 shots of the game, including all nine in a scoreless first half, but finished with 14 points.
"I knew I'd make one if I kept going but that (poor start) won't happen again," Marks said.
The Broncos were 22-of-63 for the game (a season-low 34.9 percent), and they fell to 2-4 on the year when shooting worse than 40 percent.
Sophomore wing Anthony Drmic led the Broncos with 20 points.
The Aztecs were led by Jamaal Franklin's 19 points. Xavier Thames added 18 points and Chase Tapley had 17 for the Aztecs, who were forced into 19 turnovers, but shot 46.7 percent from the field.
San Diego State wll play top-seeded New Mexico in the semifinals Friday night (along with Colorado State vs. UNLV).