Gillon leads No. 24 Colorado State to win
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) John Gillon provided the lift struggling Colorado State needed to extend the best start in the school's history.
Gillon scored a career-high 25 points, converting a critical three-point play in the final minute as No. 24 Colorado State overcame a 10-point, second-half deficit to beat Boise State 71-65 on Wednesday night.
J.J. Avila had 13 points before fouling out with just under four minutes left, and Daniel Bejarano added 11 before leaving with leg cramps late for Colorado State (14-0, 1-0 Mountain West). The Rams' season-opening winning streak is the longest in school history.
''If it wasn't for a miraculous performance by John Gillon, we're sitting here losing,'' Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy said. ''I know the opponent was terrific but we can do a lot better. So we move forward. Normally, you lose these games but there was one huge performance.''
Gillon said he fed off the energy of his teammates and saw that ''we needed some sort of spark to get us going.''
''It is always good to be able to have a good game,'' Gillon added. ''I'm glad that they got to see me play at a high level.''
Boise State (10-4, 0-1) got 20 points from Mikey Thompson but fell to 6-43 against ranked teams.
''The biggest thing is you have to come in here (to Moby Arena) and battle and compete with them because they're a tough team, smacking you around on every play,'' Boise State coach Leon Rice said. ''If you cannot deal with the constant physical battle and compete at their level, you have no chance. But I was proud of our guys because they did compete.''
Up by five at the half, the Broncos stretched their lead to 42-32 on Thompson's second 3-pointer of the game.
Colorado State rallied, going in front for the first time since the game's opening minutes on a 3-pointer by Gillon that made it 47-46 with 12:45 to play.
The game remained closely fought down the stretch.
Thompson's driving layup pulled Boise State to 64-63 with 1:31 left to play.
Gillon, who had scorched the Broncos from the perimeter, drove the lane, muscled in a contested layup and then sank the free throw to complete a three-point play to give the Rams a four-point edge with under a minute left.
Another layup by Thompson got the Broncos within four points with 9.5 seconds remaining but Gillon, fouled on the subsequent inbound, made a pair of free throws to help fend off Boise State.
''He was awesome out there,'' Avila said. ''It was a team effort but he played his heart out.''
Boise State led by as many as 14 points early before settling for a 33-28 halftime lead.
Nick Duncan hit a 3-pointer to cap a 14-0 run that put the Broncos up 22-8.
The Rams responded with a 10-3 burst that got them back in the game, starting with a 3-pointer by Gillon, who made all four tries from beyond the arc.
Boise State: Senior guard Anthony Drmic, the Broncos scoring leader each of his first three seasons, is slated to undergo season-ending ankle surgery. The school said it will seek a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA to allow him to return next season.
Colorado State: Forward Tiel Daniels missed his second straight game with a calf injury. Guard Gian Clavell was back in action after missing the last game with a shoulder injury. ... J.J. Avila has scored in double figures in each of his 14 games. ... Colorado State opened play this week as one of six unbeaten Division 1 teams.
Boise State: hosts Utah State on Saturday
Colorado State: at New Mexico on Saturday night.