Boise State men’s basketball team throws final ‘Clutch’ jab in rare win at Utah State

·8 min read

Marcus Shaver Jr. doesn’t remember how old he was when his mom, Tes Crisologo, first started rebounding for him.

But all those hours in the gym led to a moment Thursday night that neither will soon forget.

Shaver made a 3-pointer with 1.7 seconds left to send Boise State to a 62-59 victory over Utah State at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. It was the Broncos’ first victory in Logan since 2016 and only the fourth in program history.

“(Tes) always tells him, regardless if it goes in or not, shoot with confidence,” said Detrick White, Shaver’s stepfather, whose voice had grown hoarse from cheering. “When Coach (Leon) Rice and the coaching staff have the confidence to put the ball in his hands, you get those kind of results. That’s why they call him Marcus ‘Clutch’ Shaver.”

Shaver entered Thursday’s Mountain West matchup as the Broncos’ leading scorer in a balanced attack, at 13.9 points per game, but the redshirt senior was having a tough night. Before he launched that 3-pointer near the top of the arc, he was 0-for-10 from the floor.

But with Crisologo and White seated right behind the Boise State bench, Shaver shrugged off the pressure — and the relentless taunts from the Utah State student section — to make perhaps the biggest shot of his career.

“Man, I wouldn’t be here without her,” Shaver said of his mom. “I’m just so grateful for her.”

And Boise State (14-4, 5-0 MW) wouldn’t be celebrating its 11th straight victory without Shaver.

“That’s maturity. ... Every great player that I’ve coached can do that, and they have nights like that,” Rice said. “He’s not gonna remember 10 years from now the 0-for-10, he’s gonna remember that game winner. ... There was not one guy on the team that didn’t want him to shoot that, too. And sure enough, he delivered. And he delivered for them. That was really special.”

Boise State guards Marcus Shaver Jr. and Emmanuel Akot, facing, celebrate after Shaver made the game-winning 3-pointer to send Boise State to a 62-59 win over Utah State on Thursday at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan, Utah.
Boise State guards Marcus Shaver Jr. and Emmanuel Akot, facing, celebrate after Shaver made the game-winning 3-pointer to send Boise State to a 62-59 win over Utah State on Thursday at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan, Utah.

While Shaver scored the winning bucket, it was fellow redshirt senior Mladen Armus who frustrated the Utah State defense all night. Armus collected career highs of 22 points and 19 rebounds, and threw down four dunks. He grabbed 10 of Boise State’s 16 offensive boards, which led to 23 second-chance points, and drew the assignment of guarding the Utah State double-double machine of Justin Bean.

Even with the 6-foot-10 Armus in his face, Bean still got his double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, but he was held without an offensive rebound for only the third time in 19 games this season. Armus scored 14 of his 22 points in the second half on 7-for-9 shooting.

“Mladen does it at both ends for us. He’s so valuable,” Rice said. “I was so happy for him. I mean, he almost got a 20-20 tonight. Not a double-double, a 20-20. That’s impressive.”

For as good as he was on the boards, Armus could have made the game a lot less stressful for the Broncos if not for a 2-for-10 performance at the free-throw line. Boise State finished 5-for-15 as a team, continuing its major struggles there. Entering Thursday’s game, the Broncos ranked 354th out of 358 Division I teams with a free-throw percentage of 60.2%.

“I think we can hang our hat on missing some free throws,” Rice said. “But I’d trade the ability to win over the, ‘Hey, in the future that’s gonna cost you.’ Well, we’re not missing them on purpose. We don’t live in the future. We live right now, and we’re finding ways to win right now.”

Boise State shot just 27.3% from the field in the first half, including going 1-for-10 from deep, to trail Utah State 30-24 at the break. The Broncos and Aggies spent the second half in a back-and-forth battle that saw nine lead changes and four ties, and Utah State (10-9, 1-5) led 59-56 with 1:14 to play before the Broncos hit a pair of huge 3-pointers.

Emmauel Akot knotted the score at 59-59 when he dribbled once between his legs, stepped back and sank a three with 51 seconds on the clock. The Broncos then got a stop on the other end and handed the ball to Shaver for the winning play.

“That’s mentally tough. He’s a real shooter, and that was a clutch shot,” Armus said of Shaver. “That was a great one.”

Abu Kigab and Akot joined Armus in double figures with 15 and 11 points, respectively. Freshman Tyson Degenhart added six points, four of which came in the final 3:07.

Boise State will play its third game in five days — and fifth game in the past 11 days, in five different states — when the Broncos face San Diego State at 7:30 p.m. Mountain time Saturday at Viejas Arena. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network, or listen on the radio on 670 AM.

Boise State guard Marcus Shaver Jr. celebrates after sinking the game-winning 3-pointer in the Broncos’ 62-59 win over Utah State at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan, Utah.
Boise State guard Marcus Shaver Jr. celebrates after sinking the game-winning 3-pointer in the Broncos’ 62-59 win over Utah State at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan, Utah.

Women’s basketball: Broncos top Wyoming

Boise State made eight of its final 10 shots to upend defending Mountain West Tournament champion Wyoming 70-59 on Wednesday night at ExtraMile Arena.

The victory ended the Broncos’ 14-game losing streak when trailing at halftime and marked their fifth straight win at home over the Cowgirls (6-8, 2-3 MW).

“We’ve been in a lot of games that have come down to the final minute,” Boise State coach Gordy Presnell said in a news release. “We executed and hit free throws. Elodie (Lalotte) made some big buckets. Trista (Hull) was terrific. Dominique (Leonidas) had some huge steals. It was a total team effort.”

Four Broncos scored in double figures as Boise State (6-11, 2-4) outscored Wyoming 28-11 in the final quarter and closed the game on a 14-3 run.

Sophomore guard Mary Kay Naro finished with a team-high 14 points and sealed the victory by making 5-of-6 free throws in the last 1:05. Leonidas added 13 points and four rebounds, Rachel Bowers chipped in a season-high 12 points, and Lalotte totaled 10 points and seven rebounds.

Trailing 48-42 after three quarters, the Broncos broke a 56-all tie on a Bowers jumper with 4:54 remaining, and Hull extended that lead to 61-56 with a three-point play.

Boise State then held Wyoming without a field goal over the final 5:08.

The Broncos return to action Saturday when they host Colorado State at 2 p.m. The game will be streamed live online on the Mountain West Network, or listen on the radio on 670 AM.

MEN: BOISE ST. 62, UTAH ST. 59

BOISE ST. (14-4, 5-0 MW): Armus 10-16 2-10 22, Degenhart 2-5 2-2 6, Kigab 7-14 0-0 15, Akot 4-12 0-0 11, Shaver 1-11 0-0 3, Rice 1-3 0-0 2, N.Smith 1-4 0-1 2, Milner 0-0 1-2 1, Pryor 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-65 5-15 62.

UTAH ST. (10-9, 1-5 MW): Bean 6-16 0-1 14, Horvath 4-7 0-0 9, Ashworth 3-7 2-3 9, Bairstow 2-8 4-6 8, Shulga 0-1 1-2 1, Eytle-Rock 3-6 8-8 14, Dorius 1-3 0-0 2, Hamoda 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 20-52 15-20 59.

Halftime—Utah St. 30-24. 3-Point Goals—Boise St. 5-20 (Akot 3-7, Kigab 1-2, Shaver 1-5, Rice 0-1, Degenhart 0-2, N.Smith 0-3), Utah St. 4-18 (Bean 2-4, Horvath 1-3, Ashworth 1-5, Hamoda 0-1, Eytle-Rock 0-2, Bairstow 0-3). Rebounds—Boise St. 42 (Armus 19), Utah St. 34 (Bean 12). Assists—Boise St. 8 (Armus, Kigab, Akot, Shaver 2), Utah St. 10 (Ashworth 4). Total Fouls—Boise St. 18, Utah St. 18. A—7,548 (10,270).

WOMEN: BOISE ST. 70, WYOMING 59

WYOMING (6-8, 2-3 MW): McKinley Bradshaw 6-13 7-8 22; Allyson Fertig 3-6 5-7 11; Quinn Weidemann 4-11 1-2 11; Grace Ellis 2-10 7-7 11; Tommi Olson 1-4 0-0 2; Paula Salazar 1-3 0-0 2; Alba Sanchez Ramos 0-3 0-0 0; Emily Mellema 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 17-52 20-24 59.

BOISE ST. (6-11, 2-4 MW): Mary Kay Naro 4-11 5-6 14; Dominique Leonidas 5-12 3-4 13; Rachel Bowers 6-8 0-0 12; Elodie Lalotte 4-13 2-2 10; Anna Ostlie 4-5 0-0 9; Trista Hull 3-6 2-4 8; Abby Muse 2-6 0-0 4; Jayda Clark 0-1 0-0 0; Linsey Lovrovich 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 28-64 12-16 70.

Wyoming....................... 15 15 18 11 — 59

Boise St...................... 12 14 16 28 — 70

3-point goals — Wyoming 5-24 (Bradshaw 3-6; Weidemann 2-7; Ellis 0-3; Olson 0-2; Salazar 0-2; Sanchez Ramos 0-2; Mellema 0-2), Boise St. 2-9 (Naro 1-5; Ostlie 1-2; Lovrovich 0-1; Leonidas 0-1). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Wyoming 33 (Ellis 10), Boise St. 36 (Lalotte 7). Assists — Wyoming 11 ( Weidemann 4), Boise St. 13 (Naro 5). Total fouls — Wyoming 13, Boise St. 17. Technical fouls — None. A — 542.

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