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Boise State starts fast, stumbles to Oregon in late loss

Boise State more than tested the Oregon Ducks early on in the game. However the Ducks were able to wear down the Broncos and squeak out a late rally to win.

NCAA Basketball: Boise State at Oregon Cole Elsasser-USA TODAY Sports

Eugene, Oregon — No. 23 Oregon had slipped a little in the rankings (from 13 to 23) coming into this game after notching two wins against Tennessee and Connecticut. The Broncos are coming off their own pair of victories against Western Michigan and Presbyterian. As one of the tougher games for the Broncos this year, and a chance to get a “résumé” game under their belt early on, this was a must have for the Broncos, and Coach Leon Rice, if they want to have any sort of chance at an at-large NCAA tournament berth.

The Broncos came close to taking down the no. 23 ranked Ducks as Boise State hit 11 of 27 three point shots. Nick Duncan took 13 long ball shots, hitting five. Unfortunately the effort by the Broncos just ran out near the end as the Oregon Ducks pulled ahead late and beat the Broncos 68-63.

Fired Up Nick Duncan is the best form of Nick Duncan (I hear his power goes well over 9,000). Early in the game, in the span of about minute and forty seconds, Nick Duncan tested his long range shooting early draining three 3s. The Broncos would take a seven point 13-6 lead with 14:06 left in the half before Oregon would take a tempo stopping timeout.

Not to be outdone James Reid also threw up several early 3s, hitting two in quick succession. In order for the Broncos to take this game, hitting these chances would be crucial.

Course, what’s basketball without momentum ebbing and flowing. After a layup by Chandler Hutchison to extend their longest lead of the first half, 29-15, the Ducks were able to rattle off nine straight points of their own to close the gap 29-24, Broncos.

The Broncos could only muster three points at the under five minute mark. Oregon, on the other hand, was not done scoring. Led by Dylan Ennis scoring two free throws, and a Tyler Dorsey three, the Ducks were able to go into the half only down three 32-29.

Two early fouls to open the second half did not help the Broncos much. Justinian Jessup sent Oregon’s Ennis to the line and quickly decreased the Broncos’ lead to just one, 32-31.

The Boise State fouls, and turnovers, did not quite end there. In the first four minutes, the Broncos managed to pick up five fouls while the Ducks only picked up one. The Broncos managed to turn over the ball four times in that same span, while the Ducks only coughed up the ball twice. Still, the Broncos did manage to hold on to a 41-35 advantage going into the media timeout with 15:47 left in the second half.

Travis Haney came alive shortly thereafter with two rebounds, and adding two points in that time (he would end the game with nine rebounds). As the Ducks started heating up, the Broncos would match the Oregon output. A three pointer by Oregon’s Casey Benson would be met with a Boise State Jessup three. The Broncos would never pull any further away from the Ducks than eight points. But, unfortunately, the Ducks were not going to go away easily. With six minutes left in the half, Boise State’s James Reid would foul out, Oregon’s Ennis would hit the two free throws and the Broncos lead would be just down to four, 58-54.

After a valiant effort, though, the Ducks managed to chip away at the Broncos lead. With just over three minutes left in the half, Oregon managed to regain a lead (the first they had since early on in the game 6-2) 58-60.

Broncos were able to tie it at 60 with a pair of Hutchison free throws. Then Oregon’s Dorsey hit a massive, and heartbreaking, three. Following that up Oregon’s Payton Pritchard put the Ducks up by two scores with a jumper to extend their lead to 65-60.

Paris Austin got the Broncos within two with a layup and a free throw to get to 65-63 Oregon. However, an untimely Austin turnover, mixed with a long review, confirmed that the ball was knocked out by the Broncos, giving the possession to Oregon. Resorting to fouls, Oregon went to the line two more times, hitting three and extending their late lead. With the time waning, and the shots just not going in, Broncos just did not have the last bit of gas in the tank to overtake the lead, Broncos fall 68-63.