SAN DIEGO -- After rallying from a 12-point deficit and seemingly gaining control, Chase Tapley and the No. 17 San Diego State Aztecs watched in horror as Boise State's wide-open Thomas Bropleh launched a 3-point shot from the corner as the final seconds ticked off in a two-point game.
The shot rimmed out as the buzzer sounded and the Aztecs exhaled, having held off the Broncos for a 58-56 win Wednesday night.
"I was like, `Please, please, please miss it,' " Tapley said. "I had missed a free throw and coming down, messed up a switch. I just did horrible in that sequence. When the shot was going up, I was just praying it rolled out, and it did. The basketball gods saved us."
Jamaal Franklin had 16 points and Tapley added 14 for San Diego State (19-3, 5-1 Mountain West Conference), which used a 14-0 run in the second half to take control.
SDSU led 47-40 before Boise State closed the gap on a 3-pointer by Nichols and a three-point play by Derrick Marks. SDSU made seven of eight free throws over the last 34.1 seconds.
Tapley made one free throw with 7.5 seconds left but missed the second, giving the Broncos a chance to win.
The Aztecs somehow left Bropleh unguarded on the baseline.
"If that goes in, we feel like we are the best team in the world," Drmic said. "But if it doesn't, we don't."
Said coach Leon Rice: "Tre made a terrific play and got Thomas a great look. It was halfway down. It really was."
San Diego State was coming off a dismal 17-point loss at Colorado State on Saturday. A second straight upset loss would have been hard to take.
"We just can't have sequences like that at the end of game," Tapley said. "We have to finish games off."
Said coach Steve Fisher: "Sometimes after losses, you feel good about everything you did except looking at the scoreboard. And sometimes after wins, it almost feels as if you didn't win. And that was tonight. We were very fortunate."
Fisher said the ugly win could be good for the Aztecs.
"If our players truly believe what I'm saying, it will be good for us. On March 10 or 11, or whenever the season is over ... I'm hoping that our players will say, `That Boise State game at home on Feb. 1 helped us.' If we view it that way, and I'm hoping we will. If we don't, I'm concerned about what's going to happen on Saturday, and on the following Saturday, and the following Wednesday, and on and on and on."
Fisher said he doesn't "appreciate the way we've been playing, especially tonight."
He cited certain stretches of good play, "But it's the whole body of work, and I'm hopeful that our leaders and our veteran guys will make sure that that message is delivered home to one another."
Boise State seemed ready to run away with the game after making the first two baskets of the second half to take a 37-25 lead, its biggest of the night. But the Broncos scored just 19 points the rest of the way.
This one didn't start well for the Aztecs,
Boise State stunned the cold-shooting Aztecs by rallying from an early 10-3 deficit. The Broncos went on a 14-0 run, fueled by three 3-pointers and a jumper by Nichols to take a 17-10 lead with 8:14 left before halftime. Garrett Green made one of two free throws with 7:48 left for the Aztecs' first points in nearly 7 minutes.
The Aztecs pulled to 19-16 with a 3-pointer by Franklin and a slam dunk by DeShawn Stephens, only to see Drmic get hot from behind the arc with 3 3-pointers plus another long shot that helped the Broncos take a 33-25 halftime lead.
After making the first two shots of the second half, the Broncos bogged down with fouls, turnovers and poor shooting, allowing the Aztecs to go on their 14-0 run.
LaBradford Franklin made an off-balance layup and a free throw to pull the Aztecs to 37-35, Franklin made a fallaway jumper to tie it at 37 and Xavier Thames hit a jumper to give SDSU at 39-37 lead with 10:23 to go, its first since midway through the first half.
"We kind of got on the ropes and got rattled a little bit," Rice said. "I thought we regrouped. ... They turned up the heat on us."
Marks had 12 points for the Broncos.