Fueled by the first sellout crowd at Taco Bell Arena in three years, Chandler Hutchison skipped his way onto the hardwood Saturday night.
The 6-foot-7 Boise State senior guard then proceeded to drive, dunk and dominate San Diego State for an 83-80 victory in a game between two of the Mountain West’s top teams.
Hutchison broke Boise State’s single-game scoring record with 44 points, becoming the first Bronco to eclipse the 40-point mark in almost 39 years. The previous record was 42 points set by Ron Austin on Feb. 13, 1971, against Montana.
“High-level game with a sellout crowd, I just wanted to be aggressive and have fun,” Hutchison said.
In front of a crowd of 10,874, Hutchison scored Boise State’s first 16 points, making three 3-pointers in the first five minutes of the game. He also had a one-handed transition dunk that produced a deafening roar from the home fans.
The NBA-bound guard had 25 points at halftime and finished the game shooting 15-of-21 from the floor and 7-of-10 from 3-point range. But it was his free throw with 14.8 seconds remaining that put Hutchison in the record books.
“It’s the best performance I’ve ever seen on this court, for sure,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. “One of the best I’ve ever seen, period. He just took us on his back.”
The Broncos led 81-80 with 16 seconds left and needed to get past a San Diego State full-court press that had given them trouble throughout the night.
Boise State (15-3 overall, 5-1 Mountain West) originally lined up for the play with Hutchison inbounding the ball, but the Broncos let the Aztecs’ (11-5, 3-2) defense get set and called another timeout.
When they returned, Alex Hobbs took over inbounding duties and threw the ball deep down court to Hutchison, who drew an intentional foul to set up the free throws.
“A night like tonight, come on, you can’t beat that. I was literally looking around when (San Diego State’s Jalen) McDaniels was shooting that free throw and my ears were ringing,” said Hutchison, referring to McDaniels’ free-throw attempts with 16 seconds left that brought the Aztecs within 81-80.
“I haven’t even been in anything like this, so it’s hard. It’s a fine line to enjoy it all and also be locked in, but what the heck? You’ve got to have fun and enjoy it.”
While Hutchison’s record-setting performance captured much of the attention, senior point guard Lexus Williams chipped in 16 points, and sophomore guard Justinian Jessup added 10 points. Williams and Jessup each hit key 3-pointers in the final 8 minutes to recapture the lead for the Broncos.
“I feel like that’s the biggest thing of tonight,” Hutchison said of Williams’ performance. “He hit some big threes. If we don’t make those, I don’t think I’m sitting here very happy because we don’t win.”
Boise State learned a few hours before tipoff that the game would be a sellout — a first for the Broncos in three years. The most recent sellout before Saturday was 11,308 against Fresno State in 2015.
As promised, Rice took a dip in the Boise River in exchange for the packed house. He waded across the 37-degree water in the afternoon, and the feat was shown on the video board with about 8 minutes left in the game.
“Son of a nutcracker that’s cold,” Rice said as he crossed the river.
BOISE ST. 83, SAN DIEGO ST. 80
SAN DIEGO ST. (11-5): Pope 8-11 2-2 18, McDaniels 6-8 4-5 16, Watson 6-13 3-4 19, Kell 2-14 0-0 5, Mitchell 6-11 1-1 13, Montana 1-4 0-0 3, Hemsley 0-1 0-0 0, Schakel 2-3 0-0 6. Totals 31-65 10-12 80.
BOISE ST. (15-3): Haney 3-4 0-1 7, Sengfelder 2-4 0-0 6, Jessup 3-9 2-2 10, Williams 5-8 4-4 16, Hutchison 15-21 7-9 44, Jorch 0-0 0-0 0, Hobbs 0-3 0-0 0, Dickinson 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 28-51 13-16 83.
Halftime—Boise St. 40-34. 3-Point Goals—San Diego St. 8-23 (Watson 4-8, Schakel 2-2, Montana 1-2, Kell 1-6, Hemsley 0-1, Mitchell 0-4), Boise St. 14-28 (Hutchison 7-10, Williams 2-4, Sengfelder 2-4, Jessup 2-7, Haney 1-1, Hobbs 0-1, Dickinson 0-1). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—San Diego St. 26 (Pope 9), Boise St. 27 (Hutchison 7). Assists—San Diego St. 15 (Watson 8), Boise St. 11 (Sengfelder 3). Total Fouls—San Diego St. 17, Boise St. 13.
BSU women rally to beat SDSU
Sophomore guard Riley Lupfer matched a career high with 28 points in Boise State’s 86-70 victory over San Diego State at Viejas Arena on Saturday in San Diego.
Lupfer was 7-for-12 from 3-point range and scored 25 of her 28 points in the second half as Boise State (10-7, 4-2) outscored the Aztecs 50-27 and won at Viejas for only the second time in program history.
It was Lupfer’s fourth 20-point outing in the last five games. Fellow sophomore guard Braydey Hodgins dished out a career-high 10 assists, and freshman forward Tess Amundsen added a career-high 19 points.
Senior forward Shalen Shaw scored 16 points to pass Kim Brydges (1994-98) for 15th all-time on the Boise State scoring list with 1,054 points.