Boise State Basketball

Boise State has struggled in games decided by a single possession. That changed at CSU.

Playing just a 45-minute drive from his hometown of Longmont, Colorado, Justinian Jessup had a slew of fans waiting for him after Boise State’s game Tuesday night at Colorado State.

There were handshakes and hugs aplenty, and it didn’t hurt that the 6-foot-6 junior guard had just played one of his best games of the season.

Jessup scored a game-high 20 points with six assists and five rebounds to lead the Broncos to a 70-68 victory over Colorado State at Moby Arena in a Mountain West game that came down to the closing seconds.

“There is no other way. We’ve had so many close games with Colorado State over the years, and this was just another one that went down to the wire,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. “I was proud of our guys though. We got off to an awful start and we kind of regrouped. We didn’t panic.”

The Broncos (10-11, 5-3 MW) entered the game 0-5 in matchups decided by a single possession this season, but they finally put an end to that trend against the Rams (8-13, 3-5).

Boise State led 67-60 with 43.6 seconds left before the Rams managed to make two 3-pointers in a span of 19 seconds to cut the deficit to 68-66 with 19.2 seconds on the clock.

From there, David Wacker and Derrick Alston each went to the free-throw line with the Broncos in the bonus, connecting on 1-of-2 freebies apiece down the stretch to help the Broncos withstand Colorado State’s comeback attempt.

Jessup was whistled for a foul on a missed 3-pointer by Colorado State’s J.D. Paige with 0.7 seconds remaining. Paige made the first two free throws and purposefully missed the third, but Nico Carvacho couldn’t convert on a tip-in try and Alston grabbed the rebound as time expired.

“I remember blocking the shot, but I guess it was a foul. Stupid play by me,” Jessup said. “But I’m just glad we came away with the win. That’s honestly all that matters.”

Boise State started the game 0-for-5 from 3-point range and fell behind by 10 points, 16-6, with 11:37 remaining before halftime. But once Marcus Dickinson broke through from beyond the arc with 11:07 on the clock, the Broncos steadily made up the deficit.

Alex Hobbs scored on back-to-back drives for a layup and hit a 3-pointer to pull within 24-21. Dickinson then gave Boise State its first lead, 28-26, on a floater in the key with 4:01 to play. The Broncos closed the half on a 29-14 run and never trailed again.

“We’re excited for the direction we’re going,” Dickinson said. “We’re a special team, and I don’t think anybody besides us really sees that. We’re young, but we’re getting better and better each game.”

Hobbs (17 points), Alston (14) and Dickinson (12) joined Jessup in double figures, and the Broncos matched their season high with 18 assists.

“Obviously we’re capable. When we’re playing at our best, we’re one of the best teams in the league,” Hobbs said. “We’ve just got to keep making sure that we’re consistent every night.”

The Broncos will be on the road again Saturday at No. 8 Nevada. The game tips off at 4 p.m. MT on CBS Sports Network. The Wolf Pack (20-1, 7-1) needed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat Boise State 72-71 on Jan. 15 at Taco Bell Arena.

BOISE STATE 70, COLORADO STATE 68

BOISE STATE (10-11, 5-3 MW)

JESSUP, Justinian 8-13 1-2 20; HOBBS, Alex 7-13 2-2 17; ALSTON, Derrick 5-8 3-4 14; DICKINSON, Marcus 4-6 2-2 12; HANEY, Zach 2-3 0-0 4; WACKER, David 0-1 3-4 3; DEMBLEY, Pat 0-1 0-0 0; WILLIAMS, RJ 0-0 0-0 0; HARWELL, Malek 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-45 11-14 70.

COLORADO STATE (8-13, 3-5 MW)

MARTIN, Kris 5-11 0-0 13; PAIGE, J.D. 4-11 4-5 12; CARVACHO, Nico 6-12 0-1 12; MASINTON-BONNER, A. 3-3 3-3 11; MOORE, Kendle 4-10 0-0 9; EDWARDS, Hyron 2-9 0-0 5; THISTLEWOOD, Adam 2-5 0-0 4; RYAN, Logan 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 27-62 7-9 68.

Boise State................... 35 35 — 70

Colorado State................ 30 38 — 68

3-point goals — Boise State 7-16 (JESSUP, Justinian 3-6; DICKINSON, Marcus 2-4; ALSTON, Derrick 1-3; HOBBS, Alex 1-2; DEMBLEY, Pat 0-1), Colorado State 7-25 (MARTIN, Kris 3-6; MASINTON-BONNER, A. 2-2; EDWARDS, Hyron 1-3; MOORE, Kendle 1-6; THISTLEWOOD, Adam 0-2; PAIGE, J.D. 0-6). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Boise State 25 (JESSUP, Justinian 5), Colorado State 33 (CARVACHO, Nico 16). Assists — Boise State 18 (JESSUP, Justinian 6), Colorado State 22 (PAIGE, J.D. 7). Total fouls — Boise State 13, Colorado State 17. Technical fouls — None. A — 2,669.

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