Otto Kitsinger / Associated Press
Published Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014 | 4 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014 | 7:33 p.m.
Boise State 91, UNLV 90, Overtime
Deville Smith's last-second 3-pointer splashed through the basket but after multiple looks at the replay, the referees waved it off and awarded Boise State a hard-fought 91-90 victory in overtime tonight at Taco Bell Arena.
At the other end, Derrick Marks, who scored all of Boise State's 13 overtime points, put the Broncos ahead by one with 3.3 seconds left. The Rebels inbounded the ball to Deville Smith running toward his basket and the junior released a running 3-pointer that looked good in real time. However, the light on the backboard never came on and the refs crowded around the multiple once, then conferred, and went back to the replay.
At the end they brought both coaches together, explained the situation, and Boise State coach Leon Rice set off a celebration by crouching down and screaming.
Deville Smith finished with a team-high 22 points. All five UNLV starters, plus Christian Wood, scored in the double digits while Ryan Watkins and Anthony Drmic led the Broncos with 22 points apiece. Derrick Marks finished with 17.
Check lasvegassun.com later tonight for a full report from the Rebels' victory.
The last time UNLV and Boise State were about to play, I discussed the Broncos’ very difficult six-game stretch. This is the last one of those, and after a couple of heartbreaking losses to start that set, the Broncos have bounced back with a chance to tie the Rebels for third in the Mountain West.
Boise State’s big problem in that improbable loss to UNLV, in which the Rebels erased an 11-point deficit in the final minutes, and an equally frustrating loss to San Diego State was the Broncos’ inability to finish the game. Boise State had the Rebels and Aztecs against the ropes, and both times the Broncos allowed themselves to be the ones knocked out.
It’s no surprise that Boise State followed those games by dropping a third straight at Utah State. It took two Derrick Marks free throws in the final 15 seconds at home against New Mexico to secure a one-point win and avoid a four-game losing streak.
It’s funny how much a team’s current status is about perception. UNLV is one game up in the standings and would seem to have just as much, if not more, to play for as Boise State. But the Rebels are in the wake of huge disappointment after a 12-point home loss to the Lobos ended their realistic chances of competing for the league title.
Meanwhile, the Broncos’ win against New Mexico seemed to remove a huge weight from the team’s shoulders that threatened to completely tear them down. Boise State could have folded up the shop and checked out for the season after those back-to-back collapses, yet they persevered and appear to be on an uptick coming off a 12-point win at Colorado State. That’s the same place UNLV got pasted by 19 two and a half weeks ago.
So the stakes really are the same for UNLV and Boise State — third place at best and staying in the top five to avoid the Wednesday opening-round games of the conference tournament. But one team is coming in feeling excited to be in this position, because it could have been worse, while the other is hitting the road trying to get over what it just lost.
The Broncos are going to be ready to play. Will the Rebels?
Bern’s prediction: It’s now well established that I have no idea what the Rebels will do game to game. A once-stellar ATS record is crumbling because the Rebels like to zig when I think they’ll zag or not get off the bus when I think they ought to. So here’s my guess at what will happen this time around. Boise State 78, UNLV 69
Season: ATS 16-10, O/U 18-6-2