Northwestern beats Boise State 75-67 in March Madness

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Boo Buie scored 22 points to lead Northwestern to a win in the school’s second appearance ever in the NCAA Tournament, 75-67 over Boise State on Thursday.

The seventh-seeded Wildcats (22-11) previously made it to the Big Dance in 2017, and just like that time, they made sure they wouldn’t be one-and-done.

Northwestern never trailed in a game that was close most of the way and advanced to play either UCLA or UNC Asheville in the second round of the West Region.

The 10th-seeded Broncos (24-10) are still searching for their first tournament win, losing their opener for the ninth time in as many tries. Max Rice scored 17 points to lead Boise State and Naje Smith added 14.

Chase Audige added 20 points for the Wildcats and Ty Berry scored 13, including three 3-pointers.

The Bulldogs fell behind by 10 points early but fought back to tie the game at 40 early in the second half when Rice hit his second 3-pointer of the half.

The game was tight most of the way before Northwestern finally built the lead back to 10 on a tip-in by Brooks Barnhizer with 3:15 to go.


Broncos guard Marcus Shaver Jr. had to be helped off the court after going down with an apparent leg injury late in the first half. He came out of locker room late after halftime and returned to the game.


Boise State: With four returning starters from last year’s tournament team, including three seniors, the Broncos hoped this year’s team could be the one finally to break through. They fell to 0-4 in the tournament under coach Leon Rice.

Northwestern: After finishing second in the Big Ten for the first time since the 1958-59 season, the Wildcats made sure this special season wouldn’t come to an early finish. Northwestern lost in the second round to Gonzaga in 2017 after beating Vanderbilt in its tournament debut.


Northwestern is seeking its first trip to the Sweet 16.

Rice sparks Boise State past No. 18 San Diego State, 66-60

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

BOISE, Idaho – Max Rice scored 26 points and reeled off 12 straight points in a 14-0 run to close out the game and Boise State beat No. 18 San Diego State 66-60 on Tuesday night.

The Broncos (23-7, 13-4 Mountain West Conference) avenged a 20-point loss to San Diego State on Feb. 3 and remained perfect at home in conference play. It was the Broncos’ first win over a ranked team this season.

San Diego State (23-6, 14-3), which had already claimed a share of the conference crown with its buzzer-beating win over New Mexico on Saturday, failed to hold onto a late nine-point lead.

With the Aztecs staked to a comfortable 60-52 lead with 4:48 remaining, Rice took over.

Playing in what could be his final home game on senior night, Rice hit a free throw before sinking a trio of 3-pointers to give Boise State a 62-60 lead, its first since the 17:01 mark of the second half.

Then on the Aztecs’ next possession, Rice stole a pass at mid-court and drove in for a layup, sending the Boise State crowd into a frenzy.

Marcus Shaver Jr., who missed the first meeting between the two teams with a right ankle injury, hit two free throws to push the lead to six in the final minute.

San Diego State couldn’t hit a shot over its final two possessions and the Broncos ran out the clock, resulting in the Boise State fans storming the court.

Tyson Degenhart scored 14 for Boise State, while Naje Smith added 10.

Matt Bradley paced San Diego State with 16 points, and Micah Parrish chipped in 11.

San Diego State can still win the regular-season conference title outright with a victory against Mountain West cellar dwellers Wyoming on Saturday.


San Diego State: Hosts Wyoming on Saturday.

Boise State: Plays at Utah State on Saturday.

Memphis holds off Boise State rally for 64-53 1st-round win

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

PORTLAND, Ore. — DeAndre Williams had 14 points, Jalen Duren made a crucial basket down the stretch and No. 9 seed Memphis held off a second-half rally by Boise State for a 64-53 victory Thursday in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Tigers (22-10), whose poor start to the season had coach Penny Hardaway dropping expletives in a press conference, are into the second round in the West Region and will play top-seeded Gonzaga or Georgia State on Saturday.

Duren finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Tigers, who were 9-8 after 17 games but went on a late-season charge to reach the tournament for the first time since 2014. The Tigers have now won 13 of their past 15 games.

Abu Kigab had 20 points to lead the eighth-seeded Broncos (27-8), the Mountain West regular-season and tournament champs, who were making their first appearance in the tournament since 2015..

Boise State trailed by 19 at the half but, taking advantage of a cold snap by the Tigers, narrowed the gap to 42-35 with 9:45 left. The Tigers had scored just four second-half points before Williams’ dunk with 9:18 left got them going again.

Kigab hit a 3-pointer and a short jumper to get Boise State within 49-43 with 5:55 remaining, but Williams answered again with a 30-pointer for the Tigers. And when the Broncos closed to 56-51 with 1:26 left on Naje Smith’s layup, and the teams traded foul shots, Duren’s layup pushed the margin to 60-53 and gave Memphis some breathing room.

Alex Lomax, hobbled in the first half by an ankle injury, added some clinching free throws for the Tigers.

It was a disappointing finish to a dream season for longtime coach Leon Rice, whose Boise State teams had been dumped from the NCAA Tournament in First Four games their past two trips. The Broncos beat San Diego State to win the Mountain West tourney title and their 27 wins set the school record for a single season.

If it was a dream season for the Broncos, a good chunk of it was a nightmare for Hardaway and the Tigers. They had one of the nation’s top recruiting class, led by Duren and fellow early arrival Emoni Bates, but Hardaway struggled to find a solid lineup until January – Bates had not played since Jan. 27 because of a back injury.

The Tigers have hit their stride down the stretch, though, reaching the title game of the American Athletic Conference tourney before losing to Houston. And they kept that momentum going into Thursday’s first-round game, going on an 8-0 run early to take a 27-17 lead when Bates hit a 3-pointer with 4:26 left in the half.

Lomax hit a 3 a few minutes later that gave Memphis a 38-19 lead at the break, but he came down hard and appeared to injure his left ankle. He was limping as he headed for the Tigers’ bench but returned to start the second half.


Bates, who reclassified as a freshman, traveled to Portland with the team but it wasn’t certain he would play until the moment he stepped on the court. He warmed up before tipoff and was in uniform for the game, finally checking in with 5:57 left in the first half. His 3-pointer was his only points of the game.


Memphis, which beat Boise State in last year’s NIT, had a big advantage on the boards (39-30) to overcome 15 turnovers and pull away down the stretch. But it will take a better performance on the offense end if the Tigers want to beat their likely second-round opponent Gonzaga, the national runner-up a year ago.

Boise State, which ranked 17th in the nation for defensive efficiency, had not trailed by more than seven points at halftime before Thursday. The Broncos nearly overcame the deficit but it proved to be simply too much.


Memphis faces Gonzaga or Georgia State for a spot in the Sweet 16.

Mitchell, Shackel lead No. 22 Aztecs to 10th straight win

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO — Matt Mitchell and Jordan Schakel came up big in their final game at Viejas Arena, putting No. 22 San Diego State in position to clinch a repeat Mountain West Conference title.

Mitchell hit two free throws with 3.3 seconds left and fellow senior Schakel made four free throws in the final 8.7 seconds for the Aztecs, who beat Boise State 62-58 Saturday for their 10th straight victory.

Schakel finished with 17 points, and Mitchell had eight points, eight rebounds and four steals.

Sweeping the two-game series against the Broncos means the Aztecs (19-4, 13-3) can repeat as MWC regular-season champions if they win at UNLV on Wednesday night.

In normal times, Saturday would have been Senior Night for San Diego State. Since fans haven’t been allowed at games all season, coach Brian Dutcher held a private ceremony for the five seniors after practice Friday.

“Some of the emotions are taken out because the fans aren’t here,” Mitchell said. “But at the same time we’re still happy for each other, especially it being Senior Night and Jordan and I, our last game in Viejas. Putting all the blood, sweat and tears that we did, I do think to some extent we do take joy out of this, getting the W on our last game on this home court. But at the same time we’re not done, we’re still going.”

BSU (18-6, 14-5) came into the series with a half-game lead. On Tuesday, the Mountain West awarded San Diego State a pair of forfeit victories over New Mexico. Those games do not count in SDSU’s overall or formal conference record, but will count for seeding and conference championship implications.

Broncos star Derrick Alston Jr. had a miserable game, scoring just seven points – 11 under his average – on 2-of-12 shooting. He went 1 for 9 from 3-point range.

Mitchell had two big plays in the closing minutes. With the Aztecs leading by two points, he stole the ball and fed Keshad Johnson for a slam dunk. A few minutes later, he fed Nathan Mensah for a layup and a 56-53 lead.

It was a grind-it-out win for the Aztecs.

“Boise’s a good team. They make things hard,” Dutcher said. “A lot of the game looked disjointed and that’s because we guard hard. It’s two good teams knowing what each other’s strengths are and doing a good job of trying to take them away. It didn’t look free-flowing or smooth, but it was beautiful to a coach.”

Schakel came up big despite being in foul trouble for most of the game. He drew his second foul midway through the first half, his third early in the second half and then his fourth with 4:17 to go.

“It’s not hard to stay locked in in a game like this, everything that’s at stake,” Schakel said.

Boise State got within one point several times in the closing minutes, including after 3-pointers from Devonaire Doutrive and Marcus Shaver Jr.

But the Broncos could never get the lead and had to foul. Schakel made two free throws with 8.7 seconds to go and two more with 5.8 seconds left, sandwiched around two free throws by Doutrive.

Doutrive made the second of two free throws with 3.8 seconds left before Mitchell sealed it with two foul shots.

Schakel also had two clutch 3-pointers on consecutive possessions midway through the second half.

After the Broncos closed to 38-36 on two free throws by Emmanuel Akot, Schakel hit a long shot from the left wing and then hit one from the right corner before tumbling out of bounds.

Shaver and Doutrive scored 13 apiece for BSU. Mladen Armus had 10 points and 12 rebounds.

“It didn’t end up the way we wanted. We didn’t make the shots we wanted to make,” coach Leon Rice said. “But we fought, we outrebounded them and did some things that show how tough we were. But in the end we’ve got to be able to make some shots.”

On Thursday night, SDSU blew a 17-point lead before winning 78-66 in overtime.


Boise State: The Broncos are 8-58 all-time against Top 25 opponents, including 3-33 under Rice. One of those victories came at Viejas Arena on Feb. 28, 2015, 56-46 against No. 24 SDSU.

San Diego State: Dutcher started all five seniors: Mitchell, Schakel, Terrell Gomez, Trey Pulliam and Joshua Tomaic. The NCAA will grant everyone an extra year of eligibility, but Mitchell, who toyed with entering the NBA draft last before returning, almost certainly won’t be back.


Boise State plays its regular-season finale Tuesday night at home against Fresno State

San Diego State ends its regular season at UNLV on Wednesday night in the makeup of one of two games that had been postponed.

Mitchell leads No. 22 SDSU past Boise State 78-66 in OT

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO — After breezing through eight straight wins by an average of 26.4 points, No. 22 San Diego State was brought back to reality by Boise State.

Matt Mitchell scored 24 points, including four in overtime, and the Aztecs overcame 29 points by Derrick Alston Jr. to beat the Broncos 78-66 on Thursday night for their ninth straight win.

Trey Pulliam matched his career high with 18 for SDSU, which blew a 17-point second-half lead before recovering in overtime to take the inside track to repeating as Mountain West Conference regular-season champion.

“We knew this kind of game was coming,” coach Brian Dutcher said. “It’s getting to March, it’s getting to conference tournament, it’s getting to another hard game with Boise and hopefully if we play well enough, the NCAA Tournament. The rest of the games are probably going to have a feel like this.”

SDSU (18-4, 12-3) took a half-game lead over Boise State (18-5, 14-4), which had its four-game win streak snapped. On Tuesday, the Mountain West awarded San Diego State a pair of forfeit victories over New Mexico. Those games do not count in SDSU’s overall or formal conference record, but will count for seeding and conference championship implications.

That means the Aztecs control their own destiny. They host BSU again on Saturday and then finish with a rescheduled game at UNLV on Wednesday night.

Alston scored 22 points in the second half, including Boise State’s first 11 points, to help bring the Broncos back from a 17-point deficit. BSU used a 14-0 run to pull to 52-51, getting three 3-pointers from Emmanuel Akot and a 3 from Alston.

“He just flipped a switch and was a great competitor in the second half and we’re going to need every second of that when we play them again,” coach Leon Rice said.

After Abu Kigab missed two straight inside shots, Alston hit a step-back 3 to tie it at 58 with 1:39 to go.

Mitchell converted a three-point play for a 61-58 lead and then hit two free throws with 27 seconds left for a 63-60 lead. RayJ Dennis hit a 3-pointer to tie it with 9.3 seconds left.

Mitchell was called for a charge and the game went to overtime. Mitchell made two shots sandwiched around a 3-pointer by Jordan Schakel, and BSU never recovered. Alston was 0 for 2 in overtime and Boise State, the league’s highest-scoring team, had only three points in the extra period.

Mitchell said the only thing to do after blowing the 17-point lead was “just look your teammates in the eyes and tell them to dig in. It’s something we’ve done in practice and we’ve dealt with different types of adversity. Boise State coming back from a 17-point lead was today’s type of adversity.”

The Aztecs fattened up on the conference’s second-tier teams during their winning streak and then came out strong against the Broncos.

SDSU put on a defensive clinic in the first half, forcing 12 turnovers while BSU went just 3 of 17 on 3-pointers.

Pulliam had 11 points in the first 20 minutes, including a jumper off a rebound at the buzzer for a 29-17 lead.

“When you dig yourself that big of a hole, it’s a long way back and a whole lot of energy,” Rice said. “Our guys left it all out there. That first half they dictated everything that we did and we dug ourselves a big hole because that’s how soft we were that first half.

“We adjusted and fixed it the second half, and I was proud of that.”

Rice said he knows both teams will be eager for Saturday’s rematch.

“These are two really, really good teams and that showed up tonight. We were getting blasted and we didn’t lay down. Got it to overtime but didn’t have enough in the tank,” he said.

BSU took 40 3-pointers, making only 12.


Boise State: The Broncos are 8-57 all-time against Top 25 opponents, including 3-32 under Rice. One of those victories came at Viejas Arena on Feb. 28, 2015, 56-46 against No. 24 SDSU.

San Diego State: The Aztecs are playing for their eighth regular-season MWC title. They won the championship last year en route to a 30-2 overall record. They were expecting a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament before it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.


The teams finish their two-game series on Saturday afternoon.

No. 14 Texas Tech routs Sam Houston St to improve to 2-0

Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports Images

LUBBOCK, Texas — Mac McClung is already doing for No. 14 Texas Tech exactly what he told coach Chris Beard he would after transferring from Georgetown.

McClung had 18 points to again lead the Red Raiders in scoring as they improved to 2-0 with an 84-52 victory over Sam Houston State on Friday.

“No surprises with Mac, He’s delivered,” Beard said.

“We knew what we were getting into when Mac was coming, he’s a scoring guard,” said Terrence Shannon Jr., one of Tech’s returning players. “He’s doing well out there right now. … We’re happy for him scoring the ball well.”

Marcus Santos-Silva, a graduate transfer, had 12 points and nine rebounds in 19 minutes to just miss out on another double-double. He is the only Texas Tech senior after starting all 64 games for VCU the past two seasons. Shannon had 10 points as the Red Raiders shot 50% percent from the field (26 of 52) and led by as many as 38 points.

McClung, the leading scorer for the Hoyas last season, has 38 points in 41 minutes of action in his first two games for the Red Raiders. The 6-foot-2 junior guard is 13-of-21 shooting, including 4 of 6 on 3-pointers. In the first eight minutes against Sam Houston State, he had two 3-pointers among 10 points as Tech already had a 20-4 lead.

“Mac’s playing the game the right way. He’s not forcing anything. He’s trusting the offense, he’s trusting his teammates. He’s trusting himself,” Beard said. “He came in here is a guy that has an edge second to none. … He’s the ultimate competitor, but also an unbelievable teammate.”

McClung scored 20 points in a 101-58 win over Northwestern State in his Tech debut, when Santos-Silva had 10 points and 13 rebounds while playing 18 minutes in that game Wednesday.

Zach Nutall had 14 points to lead three players in double figures for Sam Houston State (0-2), which shot only 31% from the field (17 of 54). Demarkus Lampley added 12 points and Bryce Monroe had 11.

“I thought we were a little intimidated and I thought their defense was so good that it took us out of what we wanted to do, and it took Zach out of the game, which I knew that was what they were going to try to do,” coach Jason Hooten said. “We’re not good enough yet when someone plays like that to figure out that second or third option, or take advantage of something they’re not doing.”

Nutall was coming off a 36-point game in the Bearkats’ season-opening 97-67 loss at SMU two nights earlier, when he was 12-of-23 shooting and had six 3-pointers. But he missed all six of his field-goal tries and had only four free throws at halftime against Texas Tech, where he finished 5-of-17 shooting overall and was 0 of 3 on 3s.

Sam Houston State’s roster has nine newcomers, five junior college transfers and four freshmen, and had pauses during preseason practice because of COVID-19 issues. Nutall, a junior guard, is the only of four returning lettermen with more than one letter.


Sam Houston State: Hooten called three timeouts in the first 10 1/2 minutes of the game, the third when the Bearkats were already down 18 and Nutall had missed his first five shots.

“I really was disappointed in the start. I still think we’ve got a few guys with the deer in the headlights look,” Hooten said. “I just think we’ll be better. We’ll be better for it.”

Texas Tech: Texas Tech has three transfers among their seven newcomers in McClung, Santos-Silva and sophomore guard Jamarius Burton from Wichita State. Burton had eight points and three rebounds. … The Red Raiders are 62-9 at home under Beard, who is in his fifth season with the Red Raiders.


After two lopsided wins, their third game in five days will be more of a test when the Red Raiders play No. 17 Houston on Sunday, before playing St. John’s.

“These two games, we’re going to learn a lot about our team through the great competition,” Beard said. “There’s an unselfishness and a flow to our team right now. It’s fun to watch.”


Sam Houston State: Plays Boise State on Sunday at Dickie’s Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.

Texas Tech: Plays No. 17 Houston on Sunday, also at Dickie’s Arena.