With the general manager of the Golden State Warriors sitting courtside and 12 more NBA scouts in the stands, Chandler Hutchison made a strong first impression.
The Boise State senior guard drove the baseline and finished with a one-handed dunk to open the scoring for the Broncos men’s basketball team against UNLV on Saturday in front of a sold-out crowd of 10,737 at Taco Bell Arena.
The rest of the Mountain West Conference game wouldn’t be so easy.
Boise State went 9-for-10 from the free-throw line in overtime to fend off UNLV 93-91 and improve to 13-0 at home this season, which matches the longest single-season home winning streak in program history.
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“That’s something that you kind of expect. You realize at all times that there’s going to be people watching,” Hutchison said. “Mentally, that’s just something I’ve been prepared for and been playing through this whole year.”
The Broncos had the final shot in regulation with the game tied at 82-82, but Hutchison’s jumper over a pair of UNLV defenders as the clock expired was an airball.
“I think they were really disappointed that they didn’t win in regulation,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. “I saw it in their eyes, but they regrouped and went out and got it done in overtime against a good team. What a heck of a ball game.”
Boise State (19-4 overall, 9-2 Mountain West) led by as many as 12 points midway through the second half with the help of six 3-pointers — four from Justinian Jessup and two from Lexus Williams — over about a 5-minute span. During their 3-point shooting spree, the Broncos turned a 47-42 deficit into a 65-53 lead with a 23-6 run, including 14 straight points.
Jessup totaled 18 points and finished 5-for-8 from 3-point range. He leads the Broncos with 67 triples this season.
Hutchison, who led the Broncos with 21 points and eight assists, did not attempt a shot in the second half until he drew a goaltending call with 11:49 remaining.
“That’s the beauty of having a guy like Chandler,” Rice said. “He doesn’t get hung up in thinking he has to get 40.”
Boise State was up by eight points, 78-70, with 2:30 left in the game, but the Rebels closed out regulation on a 12-4 run. UNLV’s Jordan Johnson made two free throws with 12.6 seconds left to tie the game at 82-82.
And Johnson was nearly the hero again for UNLV at the end of overtime, driving the length of the court with 6.6 seconds left before missing a reverse layup. Seven-foot freshman Brandon McCoy’s tip-in attempt as time expired also missed.
“Honestly, we got a little lucky there,” Jessup said. “... Those are things, when you get things to go your way in that type of manner, you kind of know it’s a special year, and that’s what it’s been for us.”
Williams and Marcus Dickinson also reached double figures for the Broncos with 12 points apiece, and Chris Sengfelder added 10 points.
Women: UNLV 77, BSU 54
Riley Lupfer set Boise State’s single-season record for 3-pointers, but the sophomore guard’s historic day wasn’t enough to get the Broncos past UNLV on Saturday in Las Vegas.
Lupfer made five 3-pointers against the Rebels to bring her season total to 83, surpassing Abby Vaughn’s record of 81 set during the 2002-03 season. She finished with a team-leading 17 points.
The Rebels (13-8, 8-2 MW) made 15 of their first 21 shot attempts — including five 3-pointers — to put the Broncos (13-9, 7-4) on their heels early.
“Just a really poor performance, especially when we were playing for first place. I’m really disappointed. We were outplayed,” Boise State coach Gordy Presnell. “We had one team that was out here ready to compete for first, and they got it, and we had another team that wasn’t.”
Boise State could have moved into a tie for first place in the Mountain West standings with a win over UNLV after Wyoming lost earlier in the day to Fresno State.
BOISE STATE 93, UNLV 91 (OT)
UNLV (16-7): McCoy 9-15 5-5 24, Beck 1-1 0-0 2, Juiston 7-9 2-2 17, Mooring 4-12 2-2 12, Johnson 5-12 12-13 23, Mbacke Diong 0-0 0-0 0, Clyburn 2-4 0-1 4, Green 0-1 0-0 0, Hardy 4-6 0-0 9. Totals 32-60 21-23 91.
BOISE ST. (19-4): Haney 4-6 1-2 9, Sengfelder 4-8 1-2 10, Williams 3-10 3-4 12, Jessup 5-8 3-4 18, Hutchison 6-18 8-12 21, Wacker 2-4 0-0 4, Hobbs 3-4 0-0 7, Dickinson 2-6 6-6 12. Totals 29-64 22-30 93.
Halftime—UNLV 41-40. End Of Regulation—Tied 82. 3-Point Goals—UNLV 6-22 (Mooring 2-8, McCoy 1-1, Juiston 1-1, Hardy 1-3, Johnson 1-6, Green 0-1, Clyburn 0-2), Boise St. 13-33 (Jessup 5-8, Williams 3-7, Dickinson 2-5, Hobbs 1-2, Sengfelder 1-3, Hutchison 1-8). Fouled Out—Williams. Rebounds—UNLV 28 (McCoy 8), Boise St. 30 (Jessup 7). Assists—UNLV 14 (Johnson 6), Boise St. 17 (Hutchison 8). Total Fouls—UNLV 24, Boise St. 20.