The Boise State men’s basketball team’s hopes of an upset at first-place Nevada bounced off the knee of Alex Hobbs and out of bounds with a three-point deficit and less than 20 seconds to play Saturday night at Lawlor Events Center.
The Broncos scored just five points over the final five minutes while allowing 14 and fell 74-68 to the Wolf Pack in a Mountain West game that was back and forth for most of the second half. Boise State led 63-60 with 4:38 to play.
“I was trying to take a timeout on that last (play) when Alex drove, but it was just so loud the guys couldn’t hear me,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. “The refs can’t give it to you. A player has to call it, and it was so loud. But that’s life on the road.”
Boise State senior Chandler Hutchison scored a team-best 27 points on 10-for-18 shooting with five rebounds, four steals and three assists. Hobbs added 12 points and senior Chris Sengfelder contributed 12 points and 10 rebounds.
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But the Broncos (16-4, 6-2) uncharacteristically failed to hit open 3-pointers all night. They were just 3-for-21 from behind the arc, with two of the makes coming from Sengfelder early in the game. The Broncos’ guards were 1-for-16 on 3-pointers, including 0-for-5 for Hutchison.
Their 14.3-percent performance from deep was the Broncos’ lowest 3-point percentage in a game since shooting 10.5 percent (2-of-19) at San Jose State on March 5, 2016.
“Our guys showed heart and they battled. They were right there to have a chance to win it,” Rice said. “We just didn’t have enough.”
Just minutes after the loss, Hutchison posed for photos at the request of Nevada fans.
He did his best to smile, but it wasn’t easy.
“It’s just tough. It’s so hard to win, especially here, but on the road period in conference,” Hutchison said. “When you get an opportunity there and you can just taste it and then we let it slip out of our hands, it’s hard to swallow.”
Hutchison fired an airball from the corner on a 3-pointer in the closing minute, shortly before Hobbs’ ill-fated drive. The Broncos also committed a costly backcourt turnover that turned into two Nevada points with about 2:30 to go.
“You knew it was going to be a barn burner that went down to the wire,” Rice said. “We just made some crucial mistakes that I thought were at a crucial time.”
Caleb Martin (28 points) and Jordan Caroline (22) combined for two-thirds of the points for the Wolf Pack (18-3, 7-0).
“Getting to see (Martin) close at hand, he’s an impressive basketball player. No question,” Rice said.
Boise State and Nevada traded the lead six times in the first half before the Wolf Pack found their stroke from 3-point range and closed on a 9-2 run for a 35-29 advantage at the break.
Boise State answered with a 12-1 run early in the second half for a 41-36 lead. The game finished with nine ties and 10 lead changes in front of 11,164 fans — the 11th-largest crowd in Lawlor history.
“In this case, we don’t feel like we got beat by a better team,” Hutchison said. “We feel like we had some mental errors that you can’t have on the road, especially here with a great team and in this environment.”
Boise State is back at Taco Bell Arena on Wednesday against San Jose State (8 p.m. MT, AT&T SportsNet/ROOT).
Women: Nevada 72, Boise State 68
The Wolf Pack held the Broncos scoreless over the final two minutes to steal a Mountain West victory Saturday at Taco Bell Arena.
Sophomore guard Riley Lupfer’s three-point play with 1:58 to go put Boise State (11-8, 5-3) ahead 68-65, but the shots stopped falling the rest of the way.
The Broncos missed their final five attempts.
“It was a game very similar to the games we played in nonconference, where we were in the game the last minute or so and can’t make a play. We can’t finish a play,” Boise State coach Gordy Presnell said. “I think we got four looks, and didn’t make any of them. And when (Nevada) needed a bucket, they got a zero-footer.”
Marta Hermida and Lupfer led the Broncos with 15 points each, while Jade Redmon paced Nevada (11-7, 4-3) with a game-high 20 points.
MEN: NEVADA 74, BOISE STATE 68
BOISE ST. (16-4): Haney 1-4 1-2 3, Sengfelder 5-13 0-1 12, Jessup 1-7 0-0 2, Hutchison 9-17 7-9 25, L.Williams 3-9 2-2 9, Wacker 0-0 1-2 1, Jorch 1-1 0-0 2, Hobbs 6-12 0-0 12, Dickinson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-64 11-16 68.
NEVADA (18-3): Ca.Martin 11-22 2-3 28, Drew 2-4 2-2 6, Stephens 2-6 5-5 11, Hall 0-2 1-2 1, Caroline 7-16 5-6 22, Foster 0-0 0-0 0, Co.Martin 2-6 0-0 4, Cooke 0-3 2-2 2. Totals 24-59 17-20 74.
Halftime—Nevada 35-29. 3-Point Goals—Boise St. 3-21 (Sengfelder 2-5, L.Williams 1-4, Hobbs 0-3, Jessup 0-4, Hutchison 0-5), Nevada 9-26 (Ca.Martin 4-10, Caroline 3-6, Stephens 2-6, Co.Martin 0-1, Hall 0-1, Cooke 0-2). Fouled Out—Co.Martin. Rebounds—Boise St. 35 (Sengfelder 10), Nevada 30 (Caroline 11). Assists—Boise St. 11 (Hobbs, Hutchison 3), Nevada 15 (Drew 8). Total Fouls—Boise St. 21, Nevada 17.