Game Recap: Boise State 73, UNLV 66
Key players step up in big win over UNLV at home.
The new all-time leading 3-point shooter in Boise State history helps lead the Broncos over UNLV at home.
With a conference that has been shifting and realigning itself constantly this past week, Wednesday’s matchup inside ExtraMile Arena in Boise was one to watch. As conference heavy weights fell left and right, everyone not named San Diego State is fighting for Stability. Utah State suffered three straight losses this past week and New Mexico lost for the first time in conference play, once again at the hands of San Jose State. But all of that was on the back burner as UNLV traveled north to take on Boise State Wednesday night.
Each team was well aware of the stakes, for the Runnin’ Rebels a win tonight meant sitting alone at second place in the conference, just ahead of in-state rival Nevada and just behind the Aztecs. While a loss drops them into a tie with New Mexico for third. For the Broncos a loss tonight meant a drop to sixth with Utah State, and a win, well that’s just what we got.
The Bronco’s played with an effort and motor that we hadn’t seen from them just yet. This team was diving on the floor for loose balls and getting second, third and even fourth chances on the offensive glance at times, while moving the ball around the perimeter and knocking down shots. All of this to secure a quality win at home against one of two Nevada teams gaining momentum in conference play.
This was the same Bronco team that lost to Nevada just this past Saturday and couldn’t buy a three pointer going 5-26 from deep versus a much improved 8-19 on Wednesday. Justinian Jessup chipped in five of those made three pointers on his way to 18 points and a career night involving a broken record.
Second chance opportunities were in abundance for the Broncos as RJ Williams (11 Points and 10 Rebounds) and Derrick Alston Jr. (26 Points and 10 Rebounds) ended the night with double-doubles. Those rebounds led to points and when they didn’t those opportunities led straight to the foul line where the Broncos shot 74% as a team. With the addition of Abu Kigab at semester break, Leon Rice’s squad now has a big four that when firing on all cylinders can compete with anyone in the conference.
UNLV’s conference momentum hit a snag on the road, and a Runnin’ Rebels squad that started 3-0 in conference play for only the second time in program history needs to step back reevaluate their play and get ready to face a Cowboys team in the dome of doom this weekend. This Rebel team looked lost shooting the ball going 6-25 from behind the arc and shooting 37% from the field overall.
While many struggled, sophomore guard Bryce Hamilton continued to impress finishing with 19 points and 7 rebounds in just 26 minutes of play. This Rebel team has stepped up it’s level of play after being called out by head coach TJ Otzelberger in a postgame interview earlier this season, they’ll need to keep this pace of basketball up and play Hamilton just a little more if they want to stay in the top half of the conference Standings.
The Broncos head to Viejas Arena on Saturday to face undefeated and 7th ranked San Diego State. After a win over Wyoming on the road this past Wednesday the Aztecs continue their quest for conference dominance and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament with a win at home against the Broncos.
The Runnin’ Rebels finish the week out on the road against the Wyoming Cowboys in Laramie. Wyoming is still winless in conference play after a 72-52 loss to San Diego State at home earlier this week. This is a game you don’t mind winning but a loss nobody wants on their schedule.