Staying undefeated in the WAC certainly didn't come easily for Boise State, not by a long shot.
The Broncos gave up a double-digit lead in regulation. La'Shard Anderson hit what appeared a step-back game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer in the third overtime, only to see referees review the play and wave it off.
And they ultimately needed four overtimes to beat San Jose State 102-101 on Thursday in front of 1,684 in San Jose, marking the first time the program had gone to such great lengths. Afterward, first-year coach Leon Rice could still feel a sense of pride that his players had kept fighting on the road while also chuckling about being nearly as tired as they were.
"When you're coaching, you lose track of how many overtimes," Rice said by phone. "It seemed like it went on forever."
Anderson hit two go-ahead free throws and then came away with the game-deciding steal to cap his career-best 31-point performance. Fellow seniors Paul Noonan and Robert Arnold played 57 and 53 minutes, respectively.
The Broncos fouled out San Jose State scoring star Adrian Oliver in regulation after he scored 21 points and then survived a gutsy game from Spartans point guard Justin Graham, who scored 29 points and played all 60 minutes of the game.
"To be honest, I didn't feel that tired playing," Graham said afterward. "The adrenaline flowing and just being in the moment of the game and the excitement, you just keep going. Now that the game's over, I'm ready to go to bed."
Said Rice: "It was a tremendous win. It's never easy to put someone away easily on the road, especially those guys. It's a credit to our guys."
Boise State is now 10-5 and 3-0 in the WAC after Rice left his job as associate head coach at Gonzaga to take over a program that last season finished second-to-last in the conference.
Now the Broncos are atop the standings along with Fresno State, with perennial favorite Utah State at 2-0. Boise State hosts Utah State next week, but Rice indicated there was no way his team was looking past its upcoming game in Hawaii on Saturday.
"We preach the ability to recover," Rice said. "We have to recover from good things. We have to recover from bad things. We're getting good at it.
"We had to recover about three times."