December 13, 1997
BOISE, Idaho -- Roberto Bergersen scored a game-high 24 points and Mike Hagman hit a pair of key back-to-back 3-point baskets to lead Boise State to a 79-72 win over visiting Washington State in front of a boisterous crowd of 6,436 Saturday at the BSU Pavilion.
The Broncos (6-1 overall), playing without three starters, picked up their first victory over a Pac-10 school since the 1989 squad beat Oregon State at home. The Cougars (5-3 overall) shot 51 percent from the field and outrebounded BSU 36-25, but committed a season-high 29 turnovers and 27 fouls.
"That's a combination of us not doing a very good job of handling the ball and that was easily the most extreme pressure we've seen all year in a half-court setting," said WSU head coach Kevin Eastman. "We just weren't very strong once we caught the ball."
Kojo Mensah-Bonsu, who got his second start of the season, completed a traditional 3-point play at the six minute mark to give WSU its biggest lead of the game, 58-54, with six minutes to go. Bronco Mike Tolman was fouled by Steve Slotemaker while attempting a 3-point shot, and connected on 2 of 3 free throws which started a 10-0 BSU run.
Hagman hit the first of his 3-point baskets at 5:27 to return the lead to BSU, then buried another 3-point shot from nearly the same spot on the Broncos' next possession to push the lead to 62-58 with 4:49 left. Senior Carlos Daniel, who earned his third double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds, picked up his fifth foul while the Cougars tried to inbound the ball after Hagman's basket.
"You take anybody's best player out and its going to be a bit of a struggle," Eastman said. "We had a lot of guys with fouls. The refs told me afterwards we foul a lot, so I guess we foul a lot. But we don't have enough (bodies) to keep sending in."
The Cougars tied the game at 64-64 after a layup by Mensah-Bonsu, but Tolman came right back from the Broncos and hit a 16-foot jump shot at 2:57 to give BSU the lead for good.
"That was a very good, gutsy team effort," said BSU head coach Rod Jensen. "I'm very pleased with the way the guys responded when they lost their lead. We came right back."
The Cougars, down only 73-70 with 27 seconds left, had possession of the ball with a chance to tie the contest. Point guard Blake Pengelly passed the ball to Slotemaker in the high post, but Slotemaker's return pass to Pengelly on the wing was wide and landed out-of-bounds.
The Broncos inbounded the ball deep to Steve Shephard who took the ball to the basket. Slotemaker, who tried to foul Shephard, wrapped up the Broncos' guard and was whistled for an intentional foul. Shephard hit both free throws and BSU got the ball with 15 seconds left and a 75-70 advantage.
Mensah-Bonsu led WSU with a career-best 21 points. The Cougars' two top scorers, Rodrigo de la Fuente and Chris Crosby, finished with a season-lows of 13 points and six points, respectively.
Additional Quotes From Washington State Head Coach Kevin Eastman - "I thought their crowd was the difference. Their crowd was phenomenal. That's the second place we've gone to where I thought the crowd helped (also at BYU). That's something we have to get. I think some (opponents) think they can come into Washington State and come out of there with a victory. They see a dead place. We have to change that. Anyone who was at the game today got their money's worth for sure because neither team quit playing."
* Washington State turned the ball over five times during the final 2:12.
* WSU's three primary ball handlers - Rodrigo de la Fuente, Blake Pengelly and Kab Kazadi - each had three fouls by halftime. That trio combined for 17 turnovers.