Game Recap: Boise State 67, UNLV 61
Bronco’s big three show up in first game in Las Vegas to help secure win.
A big night from RJ Williams lifts Boise State past UNLV.
Las Vegas, NV–The tournament’s host UNLV took on Boise State in a mid-afternoon bout in day two of the Mountain West Conference tournament. This was game number one for both teams and the fresh legs were apparent in a game that was neck and neck most of the way.
This was the third meeting between the two teams this season and while their regular season series was split with each team securing a win on the road on the other team’s home court, this is March and anything could happen.
Both teams had a hard time shooting from the field with Boise State finishing with 21-57 made field goals on the night (36.9%) and UNLV in worse shape with 18-57 field goals made (31.6%). The three point field goal numbers are even worse as UNLV finished with 9/27 made threes (33%) while Boise State knocked down just 3-15 of their attempts.
Ultimately the Broncos had the hottest hand of the night in senior forward RJ Williams who finished the game with 23 points, 15 rebounds and 3 assists on 7-12 made field goals but 9-13 of his free throw attempts. He received help from fellow senior Justinian Jessup (19 points, 4 rebounds and 1 steal) and junior guard Derrick Alston Jr. (14 points, 12 rebounds and 2 assists).
The Runnin’ Rebels were without junior forward Cheikh Mbacke Diong who only saw nine minutes of play off of the bench. His presence was missed on the defense end as UNLV didn’t seem to have an answer to RJ Williams down low. Sophomore guard Bryce Hamilton led UNLV with 24 points, 6 rebounds and 1 assist while junior Amauri Hardy chipped in 14 points, 3 assists and 4 rebounds.
Senior guard Elijah Mitrou-Long was also missing in action after suffering a deep knee bruise over the weekend. It was obvious this UNLV team wasn’t at 100% without two of their impact players on the bench, but still gave Boise State a run for the chance to advance on to Friday night.
Boise State: The Broncos advance to face San Diego State in tomorrow’s semifinal action at 9:00 PM EST on CBS Sports Network. The Aztecs narrowly escaped the upset Thursday afternoon with a 73-60 win over Air Force.