The Boise State men's basketball team doesn't worry about style points.
That's good, because the Broncos' 68-65 win over San Jose State on Thursday night in Taco Bell Arena won't get them any.
But the win does allow the Broncos (9-7 overall, 2-3 WAC) to embark on a brutal stretch of three games in six days with some confidence and momentum.
"The only thing that matters is we got the win," said BSU junior Coby Karl, who again played hero by scoring his team's final nine points in his 20-point night. "We build on the good stuff and try to stop the bad stuff."
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The Broncos led by as many as 16 points in the first half, but somehow found themselves down 63-59 with just over 2 minutes to go. The main culprit — a season-high 23 turnovers.
"The turnovers were huge because they kept letting them back in the game," BSU coach Greg Graham said. "Give them credit, but give our guys credit because they were down four with 2:07 left and were able to pull it out."
Karl, who had a self-described "very frustrating" first 38 minutes, took over down the stretch. He made all 11 of his free throws, including seven in the final 2:07.
"No question, he's our go-to guy," said BSU sophomore Matt Bauscher, who didn't start for the first time this season, but finished with 13 points. "Coby made every big play down the stretch."
After Karl's two free throws with 9.5 seconds left, San Jose State (4-12, 0-3) had a chance to tie the score with a 3-pointer.
But Karl got a piece of Carlton Spencer's long bomb and Bauscher came down with the rebound to seal the win.
The Broncos shot 50 percent from the field and were a sterling 15-of-16 from the foul line. They even outrebounded the Spartans 35-28, with senior Tez Banks leading the way with eight boards.
BSU made a season-low three 3-point shots on a season-low 15 attempts.
"We struggled from the 3, we weren't hitting them," said Graham, adding that the Broncos were able to score more points inside.
BSU had 32 points in the paint, including 10 by Banks.
San Jose State, which hadn't played a game since Jan. 7, fell behind 28-12 early before staging a late rally to take the lead.
"The first 10 minutes of the game was the worst basketball we played, and we didn't play that bad in August and September when we had individual workouts," Spartans coach George Nessman said. "I'm just really disappointed in our team. We're up four with 2 minutes to play and we gave up a three-point play on a defensive breakdown. ... I really feel like we gave the game away."
Graham said Bauscher's play off the bench was a big spark for the Broncos, who play at Hawaii on Monday, at home against Nevada on Thursday and at Idaho next Saturday. That's three games in three different time zones in six days.
"Bausch gave us a great lift off the bench and energized us," Graham said. "Coby struggled most of the game, but when we needed him he stepped up big."
Eric Lane had 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting and Tyler Tiedeman had eight points and six rebounds as a starter.
The Spartans got 13 points apiece from Demetrius Brown, Alex Elam and Carlton Spencer.
San Jose State is the only WAC school to never win at Taco Bell Arena.