Dec. 9, 2015
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BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Mikey Thompson found his way into the lane from the top of the key and converted a contested layup with 12.7 seconds left to play - getting fouled in the process - keying the Broncos (6-4) to a thrilling 67-66 victory over Loyola Marymount after he converted the free throw. The Lions' Brandon Brown casted a desperation 3-pointer with three seconds to go, but his shot careened off the rim and was secured by Chandler Hutchison to seal the win.
"It was amazing," Thompson said. "My teammates knew that I had the ball and I was going to make a play. That's the mindset I've had since the beginning of the season. The mindset to step up in close games and do what I've got to do."
A back-and-forth affair all night, the Lions (5-4) looked as if they might sneak out of Taco Bell Arena with a victory leading 66-62 with less than a minute to play. After a stop on the defensive end, Montigo Alford was able to draw a foul late in the possession with 55.9 seconds remaining. The senior knocked down both free throws, making it just a 66-64 advantage for the visitors.
The Broncos dug in yet again and forced an LMU turnover with 30.2 seconds left on the clock. After running through a set that was supposed to find either Anthony Drmic off a curl or James Webb III for a jumper, the Lions effectively guarded the play leaving Thompson with the ball isolated at the top. A quick move to his left gave him a seam to the rim and a shot at the game-winning layup. Thompson finished for his only, but most important field goal of the game.
"I've had Mikey for five years and in those five years he has never once told me to put him back in a game," said head coach Leon Rice. "Tonight he told me to put him back in. He had that look, so I did."
The first half stayed tight the whole way, as neither team led by more than six points. Anthony Drmic scored the first five points and guided the Broncos to a comfortable 20-14 lead at the 11:36 mark in the first period.
The Lions battled back and went on a 15-4 run to take the lead, 26-21 with 5:42 to play in the half. A conscious effort to crash the offensive boards jolted the run, as shown by the 21-16 rebounding advantage at the half. LMU's second-leading scorer coming into the game, Brandon Brown (13.6 ppg), led the way in the opening period with 14 points off of 6-of-11 shooting.
Boise State closed the half strong, however, and knocked down three-straight 3-pointers to claim the 37-36 lead at the break. Two Jackson treys and a three from Alford provided the 9-0 run. LMU countered with a deep ball to end the scoring.
The game of runs continued into the second half, as the Lions jumped the Broncos in the first five minutes and broke out a 12-5 run to take the 49-42 lead at the 14:26 mark.
But in accordance to the way the entire game went, Boise State answered the bell with an 8-0 run to reclaim the lead, 50-49, with 12:25 remaining. The Broncos were the benefactors of the Lions' physical play, as they entered the bonus in the second half with 12:30 on the clock, finishing the game with 29 free throw attempts (20-of-29) to LMU's seven (5-of-7).
The game stayed close and appeared that it might tilt the Lions' way when Nick Duncan committed his fifth foul with 1:54 to play, but the Blue and Orange gave the 4,151 in attendance plenty to cheer about in the contest's final two minutes
"There are a lot of teams that down by four with 55 seconds left would have hung their heads and thought it was over," said Rice. "But these guys found a way and got it done. I told them tonight that there are a lot of different qualities you can have as a team, but to have the quality to figure out how to win close games is the best one."
Five players reached double figures for the Broncos, led by Webb III's double-double (17 points, 10 rebounds). Lonnie Jackson, Drmic, Duncan and Alford all had 10 points. LMU finished with a 39-32 advantage on the glass, and Boise State finished with the slightest advantage in field goal percentage at 40.4 percent (19-of-47) while the Lions shot 40.3 percent (27-of-67).
Brown led LMU with 19 points in 38 minutes of play.
The Broncos will continue their five-game home stand against No. 24 Oregon on Saturday, Dec. 12 with tipoff set for 5 p.m. (CBS Sports Network).