LAS VEGAS, Nev. – No. 9 seed Colorado State could not find its offensive rhythm in its lowest offensive output of the season in a 66-57 loss to No. 8 Boise State in the opening round of the 2019 Air Force Reserve Mountain West Men's Basketball Championship in Las Vegas Wednesday morning. With the loss, the Rams end the season with a 12-20 mark, while the Broncos improved to 13-19 and will take on No. 1 seed Nevada on Thursday.
After being down for most of the first half and entering the break trailing 33-26, the two teams exchanged baskets and numerous turnovers to start the final 20 minutes, with the Broncos leading 36-28 three minutes in. However, CSU put together a 7-1 run, capped by redshirt-senior J.D. Paige's three pointer, to make it a two-point game at 37-35 with 14:32 to play. Each team scored five unanswered points to keep the margin at two with 11:31 to play in the contest. However, Boise State put together the decisive run at this point, going on a 13-2 run over the next six minutes for a 55-42 lead it would never let go. CSU did get it down to seven at 61-54 with just under two minutes to play but got no closer.
Both teams finished the game hitting more than 46 percent from the field and 30 percent from the arc. Boise State won the battle of the boards, 26-21.
Paige finished with a game-high 25 points, hitting four three-pointers, while redshirt-junior center Nico Carvacho was the only other Ram in double figures with 12 points. Boise State had four players in double figures, led by Derrick Alston with 17 points.
STAT OF THE GAME
The free-throw line was a big disparity in this game, as Boise State hit 19 of its 24 attempts (79.2 percent), while CSU had just seven attempts, converting five of them (71.4 percent).
IN THEIR WORDS
Head coach Niko Medved
Regarding the game
"Obviously, these things are never easy when it ends up being the last game of a season and the young man left to me being the last game of his career. There's nothing I can say, unfortunately, that's going to make him or us feel better about the result. But I could go on and talk about this game today, and I'0m sure you guys may ask me questions. Obviously I give a lot of credit to Boise. I thought they came out
and played really, really physical, really aggressive. And we definitely didn't play our best in a lot of areas. But I thought we fought. It was a frustrating game. We had a lot of opportunities to maybe even take the lead or seize it. We just couldn't kind of get over that hump. But I thought the guys kept battling and fought through some adversity. Boise was just the better team today."
• This was the 24th meeting ever, with the Broncos holding a slight 13-11 advantage with each team with one win in the Mountain West Championship.
• Boise State has taken five of the last six meetings between the two programs, with three of them decided by three points or less. However, the two teams split this season's series, with each team winning on the road.
• Carvacho is the second player in Mountain West history to record at least 414 rebounds in a season, finishing second to Andrew Bogut of Utah with 427 in 2004-05.
• He also set a Mountain West single season record for rebounds by a junior and average rebounds per game at any classification.
• Paige finished his career with 1210 points, finishing 14th in CSU annals. He also ranks in the top 10 in three-pointers made, attempted, steals, career games played and minutes played.
• Paige led the team in scoring for the 12th time this season and 22nd time of his career.