Merrill’s Season-High Spoiled As USU Collapses In Final Minutes At Boise State
BOISE, Idaho – The Utah State Aggies collapsed down the stretch in regulation and fell in overtime against the Boise State Broncos, spoiling Sam Merrill’s season-high scoring night.
Utah State fell to the Broncos 88-83 in OT at ExtraMile Arena on Saturday, January 18.
After leading 38-25 at halftime, the Aggies were outscored 50-37 in the second half of regulation and 13-8 in overtime.
Boise State freshman guard RayJ Dennis scored all 19 of his points in the final minutes of regulation and overtime.
— Boise State MBB (@BroncoSportsMBB) January 19, 2020
USU held a 66-48 lead over the Broncos with 4:10 left to play before Boise State proceeded to go on a 27-9 run to close out regulation and force five extra minutes of game time.
The Aggies led 73-67 with 12 seconds left when USU guard Abel Porter Jr. fouled Boise State’s RayJ Dennis on a shot behind the arc, sending him to the free-throw line for three foul shots. Dennis made all three foul shots cutting the game to one possession.
Four seconds later, Porter Jr. was fouled by the Broncos and went to the free-throw stripe for a pair. The Aggie guard connected on both, pushing the game back to a two-possession lead.
Dennis Jr. put up a shot from downtown with four seconds remaining to cut the Aggies’ lead down to two points.
Utah State’s Diogo Brito went to inbound the ball when Boise State’s Justinian Jessup stole the ball, drove to the basket, and laid the ball in to tied the game at 75 apiece with 1.9 seconds to go. The Aggies turned the ball over as time expired and the game went to an extra five minutes of play.
Holy crap! Never seen anything like that! Boise State rallies from down 18 in the final 4 minutes and down 5 in last 7 seconds to win! I might be a crappy play-by-play guy but I always seem to work must see TV games. I’m gassed! pic.twitter.com/MeoXEqH6O4
— Steve Quis (@SteveQuis1) January 19, 2020
Jessup was fouled while making a layup 1:23 into the extra period. It was Boise State’s first lead of the game. Jessup would make his foul shot to give the Broncos a three-point lead.
Utah State wasn’t able to recover and ended up falling by five points for the sixth time this season.
What It Means
It was the Aggies’ fourth loss in Mountain West Conference play, sending them to a below .500 record in conference games at 3-4.
Sam Merrill led the Aggies with a season-high 30 points on 9-19 field goals including 4-11 from behind the arc. He added 3 rebounds and 3 assists in the loss.
Ohhhh, there goes that man‼️
— USU Men's Hoops (@USUBasketball) January 19, 2020
Boise State was carried by RayJ Dennis and Derrick Alston who each scored 19 points.
OMG!!! RayJ Dennis of @BroncoSportsMBB just scored all of his 19 pts in the last 3:27 of regulation/OT to complete the Boise State comeback (down 18 points). I think @SteveQuis1 and I just called the comeback of the decade on ESPNU!
— Richie Schueler (@RichieSchueler) January 19, 2020
The Broncos improved to 12-8 on the season and 4-4 in conference play.
Utah State moved to 14-6 overall.
The Aggies host the Air Force Falcons on Tuesday, January 21 at 9 p.m. (MDT). The game will broadcast on ESPNU.
Air Force defeated the Aggies on January 7 and gave USU its worst defeat of the season by 19 points.
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