Despite leading for all but ten minutes of minutes of total play, the Colorado State men’s basketball team lost their opening conference road game 74-73 in heartbreaking fashion at Boise State.
It looked like CSU had this one wrapped up after Braden Koelliker was able to keep the Rams final offensive possession alive with an offensive rebound, before making an incredibly difficult fade away shot to give the Rams a two-point lead with 3.9 seconds remaining.
Then Boise State guard Chandler Hutchison casually jogged down the court and banked home the game-winning three pointer off the backboard as time expired, securing a one-point New Years Eve victory for the hometown Broncos.
Heartbreak has become a familiar trend for the Rams in recent weeks, losing to Loyola Marymount (69-66), Long Beach St (56-55) and now the Broncos (74-73) all on last second field goals. None of them were more surprising than Saturday night’s as the Rams were truly in control throughout the contest.
Coming into the game as the top-two leading rebounding teams in the conference, it was assumed that the glass would play an important role in tonight’s game and it certainly did. Boise State narrowly outrebounded Colorado State 39-37, but they doubled up the Rams points in the paint (32-16).
Where the Rams were able to make up for their lack of production in the paint was at the three-point line, making 8-18 attempts (44.4 percent) on the day. Seven of those eight were made by the duo of Gian Clavell (4-6) and Emmanuel Omogbo (3-5), both of whom finished the day with 22 points.
CSU also shot well from the free throw line, making 21-25 attempts on the day (84 percent), compared to Boise State who finished the day 17-30 from the charity stripe (56.7 percent).
This was an incredibly even-matched basketball game, but in the end it came down to execution and the Broncos were able to execute when it mattered most, going 5-6 from the field offensively and forcing stops on six of the Rams final eight possessions.
The Rams will look to improve to 2-1 in the Mountain West when they travel to San Jose State Wednesday, Jan. 4.
Collegian sports reporter Justin Michael can be reached by email at email@example.com or Twitter @JustinTMichael.