BYU recovered from a sluggish start to battle back into the game in the second half and force overtime, but Boise State outlasted the Cougars 72-68 Thursday in ExtraMile Arena in Boise, Idaho.
The Broncos were led by redshirt junior Derrick Alston Jr., who posted his first double-double of the season with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Forward RJ Williams added 18 points and seven rebounds before fouling out.
BYU’s Jake Toolson got the scoring started with a 3-pointer, but the Cougars struggled to get their shots to fall, especially from beyond the arc. The 6-foot-5 guard finished with 19 points, six rebounds and four assists.
TJ Haws and Connor Harding followed with 10 points and four rebounds apiece.
The Cougars trailed 27-20 at the half due to 25% shooting from the field and 20% from the 3-point line. By the end of the game, BYU improved to 38% and 29%, respectively, but it wasn’t enough to overtake the Broncos.
BYU outscored Boise State 21-9 in 3-pointers. The Broncos edged out the Cougars 44-42 in 2-pointers, but the home team really dominated from the free-throw line. Boise State made 19 points from free throws, while BYU only scored five.
Both teams were slow to start, neither scoring in the first two minutes of the game until Toolson's shot. From there, BYU held the lead, although it was never by more than three points. Boise State tied the game 12-all with less than nine minutes left in the first half and took the lead on a free throw from Williams.
The Broncos led by as many as nine points four times, but then the Cougars started chipping away at their deficit in the second half.
Harding hit a 3 to bring BYU within two points of Boise State and after a defensive rebound from Toolson, hit another one from the right side to give the Cougars the lead, 39-38, with 13:34 left in the game.
There were 10 more lead changes in the second half as regulation time came to an end.
Boise State’s Marcus Dickinson made a free throw to tie the game 58-all with 1:28 left in the second half, but neither team was able to convert. Toolson attempted a buzzer-beating jumper, but the ball tipped away by the Broncos’ defense.
In overtime, both teams traded buckets until Boise State went on an eight-point run to lead 70-64 with 20 seconds left. BYU continued trying to get to the basket, but wasn’t able to overcome deficit in that amount of time.
BYU will next travel to the Maui Jim Maui Invitational next week. The Cougars will play their first game Monday against UCLA.