Broncos Claim Thrilling OT Win Over UCSB

Boise State may be playing its best basketball of the season. Playing in front of a hostile crowd in the Thunderdome, the Broncos won an exciting 78-76 overtime game over UC Santa Barbara.

La'Shard Anderson's basket at the buzzer helped Boise State to a dramatic 78-76 overtime win over UC Santa Barbara last night in California. 

Orlando Johnson's three-pointer with 8.5 seconds remaining tied the game at 76. Wes Perryman launched his own three-point shot for the Broncos that caromed off, but Anderson was there to grab the rebound and score the winner. 

After Boise State scored the first two points of the overtime, the Gauchos came back to take a 69-66 lead with 3:22 remaining. Anderson's lay-up cut the lead to one, but Will Brew nailed a three-pointer from the corner to put UCSB ahead 72-68. Paul Noonan aced a pair of free throws and following a Gaucho turnover, Anderson hit two more to tie the game with 1:21 left. Johnson was fouled on a drive to the hoop but made just one of two free throws.

Anderson penetrated the Santa Barbara defense for a lay-up to give the Broncos a one-point lead (74-73) with 53 seconds remaining. Johnson missed an opportunity from close range on the ensuing possession, but James Nunnally was there to collect the rebound and draw a foul. However, Nunnally misfired on both attempts and the Broncos had the ball and the lead with 36 seconds remaining.

Noonan was fouled with 18 seconds left and sank both shots to set the stage for the exciting finish.

Boise State Head Coach Leon Rice has his team taking excellent care of the basketball in his first season. The Broncos were under 10 turnovers again last night (6). Boise State could hold the national lead in turnover margin following this weekend's action.

Free throws played a significant role in the game. Boise State was 31-39 from the line while UCSB sank 26-of-33.

Boise State overcame first-half deficits of 26-21 and 30-24 to battle back. A Noonan three-pointer brought the score to 26-23 and Daequon Montreal's lay-up answered the second run of the first half for the Gauchos.

Noonan became the 20th player in school history to join the 1,000 career points club, pacing Boise State with 20 points last night. Montreal netted 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds; Anderson finished with 18, nine assists, five rebounds, four steals and two blocked shots and consistently harassed the Gaucho guards. "He (Anderson) was pretty crafty with the ball when he got into the paint," said UCSB's Johnson. "He also has quick hands and kind of disrupted us at times." Anderson came into the game 15th in the country in steals with 2.4 and improved upon that average with his performance in California last night. Jeff Elorriaga also scored a career-high 10 for the Broncos.

Johnson - who forced overtime by making two free throws with four seconds left in regulation - had 25 points and James Nunnally 21 for the Gauchos. UCSB shot 50% from the arc (8-16) to keep the game close. Johnson added nine rebounds and three blocked shots for the Gauchos while Nunnally had six rebounds. Jaime Serna, who was returning from a groin injury, had 10 points, seven boards, three blocked shots and three assists.

Coach Rice's Broncos won for the third consecutive game to advance their record to 15-11. Boise State has important conference games next week at Fresno State and Nevada. UCSB dropped to 14-11 with the home loss.

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