The first time Chandler Hutchison played at Gersten Pavilion on the Loyola Marymount campus, it happened to be his second collegiate game. He scored a single point on a forgettable night.
Two years later on the same court, the Southern California native looked at home in front of nearly 20 family members.
Despite being in foul trouble for much of the game, Hutchison scored a game-high 17 points as the Broncos took a 13-point lead over Loyola Marymount early in the second half. The Lions rallied late and had a chance to win at the buzzer, but Steven Haney Jr.’s shot wound up wide, sending Boise State home with an 80-79 victory.
“(I went) 0-for-4, something, an airballed shot. I remember everything here,” Hutchison said. “It’s quite the turnaround. I was excited to play (here) again. ... There’s no better feeling than coming home and playing in front of your family. Just the air gave me a little extra bounce.”
It was the Broncos’ (5-4) last game of a wild eight-day stretch where they played four games in three time zones, going 2-2.
“It came down to one possession, just like the Evansville game did. And the Oregon game was almost like that, too,” BSU coach Leon Rice said. “I think it’s huge because sometimes you’ll do everything right and not pull it out. We did a lot of things wrong, but found a way to pull it out. And that’s what you need.”
Hutchison began his homecoming with a bang, scoring the Broncos’ first 5 points and 12 in the first 9 minutes. He got into foul trouble and was forced to sit the majority of the first half.
Luckily, he got help from some unlikely friends.
Eight additional Boise State players scored in the first half, including 14 combined points from bench players Marcus Dickinson and Cameron Oluyitan.
Senior Nick Duncan stepped up without Hutchison, taking his typical 3-point game closer to the basket and scoring 7 points under the hoop. Freshman Justinian Jessup hit a pair of 3-pointers, including one right before halftime that gave BSU a 49-42 lead.
The Broncos shot 63.3 percent from the field in the first half.
“That’s a big part of who our team is. On other teams, maybe some guys would have pouted and been disappointed if they weren’t starting,” Hutchison said. “That just shows about the character of those guys like Cam, like Marcus. ... We don’t win the game if those guys don’t step up.”
Hutchison returned to the floor in the second half and made an immediate impact, hitting a corner 3-pointer that helped the Broncos increase their lead to 13. LMU went on a 10-0 run and tied the game at 58-58 behind six quick points from Stefan Jovanovic.
Hutchison again found himself in foul trouble late in the second half and was forced to the bench with eight minutes left in regulation and the Broncos trailing by six.
But the junior was once again picked up by his teammates, this time by Zach Haney, Paris Austin, James Reid and Jessup. The four combined for 23 points in the second half with Hutchison on the bench for much of it, helping the Broncos regain an eight-point lead.
“It says a lot. Guys were ready tonight. Everyone was ready,” Jessup said. “(Seeing) guys just go out there and start hooping, it was awesome to see us be able to do that without Chandler on the floor.”
The Lions again rallied and had a chance to tie the game at 80-80 with less than a minute remaining and Kelvin Amayo at the free throw line. The senior made one and airballed the final attempt, leaving the Lions down a point.
LMU got the ball with 11.3 seconds remaining and a chance to win. A Boise State player knocked the ball out of bounds after a missed Amayo jumper and, after several lengthy reviews, 1.7 seconds were put on the clock to give the Lions one final gasp.
Haney Jr.’s shot from the corner, at the buzzer, went off the top of the backboard.
“(The longest two seconds) in recorded history,” Rice said. “We did some good things tonight, and we played great. It was one of those games where you have to find a way to win. And we sure did.”
Boise State is off until Saturday when it hosts Portland at 2 p.m. at Taco Bell Arena. The team remains home for three games until Dec. 28, when it travels to Utah State to open Mountain West play.
The first month of the season has seen Boise State travel to South Carolina, Oregon, Indiana and California. The 9,000-plus miles logged is only helping the young Broncos blossom.
“The beauty of this team is we’re growing. And they’re getting better right in front of our eyes,” Rice said. “I love the progress that we’re making right now.”
Boise State 80, Loyola Marymount 79
BOISE STATE (5-4)
HUTCHISON, Chandler 6-9 3-5 17; JESSUP, Justinian 5-8 1-2 13; REID, James
4-5 1-2 10; HANEY, Zach 4-6 1-1 9; DICKINSON, Marcus 3-4 0-0 8; DUNCAN, Nick
3-7 1-2 7; AUSTIN, Paris 2-5 2-4 6; OLUYITAN, Cameron 2-4 0-0 6; JORCH,
Robin 0-2 4-6 4. Totals 29-50 13-22 80.
LOYOLA MARYMOUNT (2-3)
JOHNSON, Shamar 7-14 0-1 14; JOVANOVIC, Stefan 6-8 2-2 14; HANEY, Steven
5-11 0-0 13; BROWN, Brandon 5-10 1-1 13; TUACH, Buay 4-8 0-0 9; AMAYO,
Kelvin 3-5 1-2 7; HERMAN, Petr 3-4 0-0 6; JOHANSSON, Erik 1-4 0-0 3;
McCLENDON, Jeffery 0-0 0-0 0; MARKUSSON, Mattias 0-1 0-0 0; TUTU, Munis 0-0
0-0 0. Totals 34-65 4-6 79.
Boise State................... 49 31 - 80
Loyola Marymount.............. 42 37 - 79
3-point goals--Boise State 9-21 (JESSUP, Justinian 2-5; HUTCHISON, Chandler
2-3; DICKINSON, Marcus 2-3; OLUYITAN, Cameron 2-4; REID, James 1-2; DUNCAN,
Nick 0-3; HANEY, Zach 0-1), Loyola Marymount 7-22 (HANEY, Steven 3-9; BROWN,
Brandon 2-4; TUACH, Buay 1-3; JOHANSSON, Erik 1-4; AMAYO, Kelvin 0-1;
JOVANOVIC, Stefan 0-1). Fouled out--Boise State-None, Loyola Marymount-None.
Rebounds--Boise State 30 (AUSTIN, Paris 5), Loyola Marymount 27 (JOHNSON,
Shamar 7). Assists--Boise State 22 (AUSTIN, Paris 6), Loyola Marymount 26
(BROWN, Brandon 9). Total fouls--Boise State 16, Loyola Marymount 19.
Technical fouls--Boise State-None, Loyola Marymount-None. A-1332