Conway, S.C., November 18, 2017 – There will be a state of excitement at the HTC Center when Boise State takes on Iowa State at 7:30 p.m. ET Sunday for the championship of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off at Myrtle Beach. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.
Both teams have had to survive close calls in order to make it to the championship game. Boise (4-0) nearly was eliminated from contention for the title during Thursday’s opening afternoon, but rallied from five points down in the final minute to defeat UTEP 58-56. The Broncos then advanced to the championship with an 82-64 semifinal victory over Illinois State on Friday.
Iowa State’s close call came in the final game of Friday’s second round. After outrunning Appalachian State 104-98 on Thursday, the Cyclones (2-2) withstood a furious comeback attempt from Tulsa in the semifinals before prevailing 80-78. ISU had a 16-point, second-half lead cut to 72-71 with 1:12 remaining, but held on by going 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final 29 seconds.
Boise State has been led by senior guard Chandler Hutchison, who has averaged a double-double in the tournament with 14.5 points and 13 rebounds per game. Hutchison scored the final five points in the comeback victory over UTEP, including the game-winner with three seconds left.
“We’re excited to have the opportunity to play in the championship. That’s why we came here,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. “I’m pretty excited about the basketball we’ve been playing. Hopefully we can clean up some things during the day off (Saturday) and make ourselves better for the championship.”
Iowa State counters with the one-two punch of guards Donovan Jackson and Nick Weiler-Babb. Jackson has averaged 25 points per game in the tournament and shot 8-for-18 from 3-point range, while Weiler-Babb is averaging 21.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 7.5 assists.
“We talked all summer that those guys have to be great for us every night, and they’ve played like that the last two nights down here,” Iowa State coach Steve Prohm said. “Now we have a day off to get ready for a really good opponent. It’s going to be a great opportunity for our guys. Any time you have an opportunity to win a championship – preseason, postseason – that’s a special moment in college basketball.”
Sunday’s final-round action begins with UTEP (1-2) taking on Appalachian State (2-2) at 11:30 a.m. ET in a game that can be viewed on ESPN3. That will be followed by South Carolina (3-1) vs. Western Michigan (2-2) at 2 p.m., then Illinois State (1-2) will play Tulsa (2-2) at 5 p.m. in the third-place game. Both those contests will be broadcast on ESPNU.