Just like Jeret Peterson, Boise State couldn't stick its landing Thursday, either. The Broncos, having trimmed an 18-point second-half lead to a mere two in the final minutes against Utah State, failed to finish the comeback as Coby Karl missed an off-balance jumper at the buzzer.
That the Broncos didn't get off a better shot was a combination of poor coaching, poor playing and an untimely slip.
Leading 64-62, Utah State's Nate Harris turned the ball over with 21.9 seconds remaining — plenty of time for the Broncos to get a good shot and, if they missed, a chance at an offensive rebound or a quick foul to extend the game.
But Karl, who scored 13 of the Broncos' last 15 points, slowly brought the ball up, looking to the bench for a play call. BSU coach Greg Graham wanted Karl to simply attack the basket, but with no one headed in that direction, the Broncos finally called timeout with 7.9 seconds remaining.
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Fourteen seconds, wasted. After a series of timeouts — the Broncos called three and Utah State used one — BSU again put the ball in Karl's hands to tie or win the game. Off a pick-and-roll, Karl slipped and, when he composed himself, only had time for a leaner from just inside the 3-point line. It missed and the Broncos' offensive tip came after the buzzer.
Boy, those 14 seconds might have helped a ton. How about calling timeout immediately after Harris' turnover?
Graham said eight seconds left the Broncos plenty of time to run the pick-and-roll and allow Karl to drive or dish for a 3-pointer. And, sure, if Karl's shot falls, no one is discussing those 14 seconds.
But 14 seconds at the end of a one-possession game are precious. They should be valued.
"Every decision Coach makes is going to be scrutinized. And I don't think it was a poor decision. I don't think it changed the game for us at all. Maybe we should have done something else," Karl said. "But if I make that shot and we're in overtime or win the game, you're not going to be saying anything."
Instead, the Broncos were left to discuss the lessons learned from a close loss. It's a familiar refrain. Stop me if you've heard this one: Boise State comes up just short at the end.
The Broncos (13-13, 5-9 in the WAC) have lost league home games to Louisiana Tech by three, Nevada by three and now Utah State by two.
"Same story, different day," Broncos' forward Kareem Lloyd said. "Hopefully, these are pages that we'll turn to so that we won't repeat them in the WAC Tournament."
If they haven't learned their lesson by now, it's hard to believe that the Broncos will have gotten it by then. The WAC Tournament begins in less than two weeks — March 7 in Reno, Nev.
"Hopefully our guys can see that if we get a sense of urgency sooner what a difference it would make in the game," Graham said.
That alarm clock has been ringing for a long time. Apparently, the snooze bar works too well. Or at least it did Thursday. The Aggies blitzed BSU in the early going, leaving the Broncos another hole to dig out of.
"To have a shot at it at the end, it shows our character. Maybe we don't have enough character," Karl said. "We're still working on that."
At this pace, the Broncos might discover it well into the summer, long after the judges have gone home.