Boise State fends off feisty Colorado State team, 84-80
BOISE, Idaho (AP) Boise State's Mikey Thompson scored on a putback and Anthony Drmic hit two free throws in the final twelve seconds to stave off a feisty Colorado State team 84-80 on Saturday night in the Mountain West opener for both teams.
Boise State coach Leon Rice watched his team nearly squander a 16-point lead, but he didn't seem concerned by it.
''Every game is closer than you like,'' said Rice, whose Broncos led Oregon last month by as many as 17 before holding on for the win on the final possession. ''It's one thing to get a big lead on a team than you're better than, but it's not realistic most of the time.
''When you have two goods teams, they're both going to make runs. We knew we'd have to keep battling right up until the end. The object is to get the job done, not earn style points.''
James Webb III had 28 points and nine rebounds to lead Boise State (10-4), which notched its 16th straight home game. The victory matched both the second-longest streak in school history and the longest in Rice's six-year tenure. The Broncos won 19 straight between March 1997 and January 1999.
Colorado State (8-6) was led by Antwan Scott with 24 and Joe De Ciman with 22. The Rams played without leading scorer Gian Clavell, who is out for the season with a torn shoulder and a broken left hand.
''That's a really good team and why they were picked to do so well in the conference,'' Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy said. ''I also knew they have a tendency to let teams back in it. I've had teams just like that where they kind of get bored and let teams back in.
''I kept telling our kids that they'll let us back in and give us a chance. But we just had to make too many plays against four-year guys.''
With three minutes remaining, Boise State appeared in control with a 76-69 lead, but De Ciman hit a jumper followed by a 3-pointer for the Rams to trim the lead to two with 2:20 remaining.
As Boise State extended its lead back to four twice over the final minutes, Colorado State kept fighting back and cut it to two again - the last after J.D. Paige dunked with 38 seconds left.
Then Thompson scored a putback to give the Broncos an 82-78 lead with 12 seconds remaining. Paige hit a short jumper with three seconds left to cut the lead to two again before Drimic iced the victory with a pair of free throws.
Drimic finished with 21 points for the Broncos, while Thompson had 18.
Colorado State shot 63 percent in the field from the second half after shooting 38 percent in the first half.
Colorado State: The Rams are now 4-13 in Mountain West Conference openers since the league was formed in 1999. . Coach Larry Eustachy, who has faced Boise State as the coach at Idaho and Utah State as well, is now 10-10 against the Broncos and 3-5 at Taco Bell Arena. . Colorado State had held its previous three opponents under 62 points until Saturday's game.
Boise State: The Broncos have won two straight against Colorado State and seven straight since losing to Arizona on Nov. 29. . Under coach Leon Rice, Boise State is 4-2 in the first game of the calendar year.
Colorado State hosts UNLV on Wednesday.
Boise State travels to Utah State on Tuesday.