Latest Chapter of Broncos-Aztecs Saga Goes to SDSU
Forward Ryan Watkins works against Aztec defense in the first half.

Jan. 09, 2014

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SAN DIEGO (AP) - Boise State coach Leon Rice turned the corner and saw some reporters waiting after the Broncos' 69-66 loss to No. 13 San Diego State on Wednesday night.

"It's Groundhog Day. It's Bill Murray. I can't escape it," Rice said.

The Aztecs held for another close home win against Boise State after Derrick Marks missed the potential-game winning shot with 4 seconds left.

In three games at San Diego since joining the Mountain West Conference, the Broncos have lost by 2, 1 and 3 points.

"Oh Lord's sakes. Yeah, yeah, all three of these games here have been last shot," Rice said. "Credit San Diego State. They dug us in a hole. They were a great defensive team. No, they're a great basketball team. They were clicking on both offense, defense, turning us over. We were just trying to weather the storm. Hang in there, keep it close."

The Aztecs (13-1, 2-0) won their 12th straight game. They led by 18 points in the first half before the Broncos (11-4, 1-1) charged almost all the way back in the closing minutes.

Marks scored the Broncos' last eight points, including a step-back jumper with 54.2 seconds left to pull Boise State within one at 67-66. After forcing the Aztecs to miss a three-pointer, the Broncos held the ball for the final shot. Marks missed a 17-foot jumper with 4 seconds left and Xavier Thames rebounded. A foul was called on with 0.2 seconds and Thames hit the two free throws.

"We had the ball in the guy's hands you wanted for the last shot," Rice said. "It just didn't go down. It takes a lot of guts to take that shot. I have a lot of faith in him to take the next one.

"I think Derrick's kicking himself for not driving. It looked like he was going to," Rice said.

Said Marks: "We got the stop we wanted. I went up for a jumper and I missed it."

Asked if he would have done something different, he said: "I have that much confidence in my jumper. You know, it all depends."

Asked if he should have driven to the basket, he said: "That wasn't what came to my mind."

Thames and Winston Shepard scored 16 points each for the No. 13 San Diego State

Boise State lost for the fourth time in seven games, with three of those losses coming against top-15 teams. The Broncos have played SDSU close since joining the MWC in the 2011-12 season. Six of the seven meetings have been decided by six points or fewer.

The Aztecs were playing for the first time since Sunday's 61-57 victory at No. 18 Kansas, which helped SDSU move up eight spots in The Associated Press Top 25. They frittered away a 59-45 lead in the final minutes.

Marks had a game-high 21 points. Anthony Drmic added 17 points and 10 rebounds for his third-career double-double.

The Aztecs held the Broncos scoreless for nearly eight minutes in the first half while going on a 17-0 run.

"They got us on our heels in the first half. They throttled us," Rice said.

After Ryan Watkins converted a three-point play to pull the Broncos to 9-8 with 14:47 to go in the first half, the Aztecs scored the next 17 points to take a 26-8 lead with 7:29 left. Dwayne Polee hit a 3-pointer to start the run and Aqeel Quinn had two 3-pointers, including one to end it with 7:29 left. Shepard scored three points during the streak.

Ryan Watson finally ended Boise State's drought, hitting a runner at 6:59, BSU's first points in nearly eight minutes. Watkins scored nine points in the first half to keep the Broncos within striking distance. He pulled down 10 rebounds in the game, but did not score in the second half as he came up just short of a double-double.

The Broncos outscored the Aztecs 16-8 to close to 34-26 at halftime. Marks hit a 3-pointer just before the buzzer and had nine points in the final 6:20 of the half.

SDSU quickly got the lead back to double digits on a layup by Shepard and a jumper by Thames.

The Aztecs also had a 9-0 run early in the first half, with Skylar Spencer scoring six points, for a 9-2 lead. Boise State responded with six straight points on a 3-pointer by Nick Duncan and a three-point play by Watkins.

"When a team is the 13th-ranked at this time of year, they've earned it," Rice said. "They're a hell of a basketball team and we tip our hat to them."

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