Boise State Claims Mountain West Title With Win Over Nevada
Broncos are the regular season champions
Boise State gets a close win.
Boise State hangs on to beat Nevada, 73-67 in what would be an offensive battle for both teams.
It was quite a different start for the two squads Tuesday night. At the first media break of the half, Boise State led 12-5 behind 45% from the field and 50% from deep. Nevada looked uncomfortable on offense, with their usual suspects struggling to score.
The Wolf Pack’s scoring slump was able to subside in the middle of the first half. Nevada was able to make six of seven field goals to go on a 7-0 run to bring the game to within one with nine minutes left in the first half. Boise State was able to go on a run of their own, which was matched by Nevada’s strong scoring output in the final minutes in the first half. Boise State would be able to fend off the Wolf Pack’s run with a run of their own to end the half. The Broncos would lead 41-35 at the break.
.@BroncoSportsMBB claimed its first outright #MWMBB regular-season championship with a 73-67 win over Nevada!@AbuKigab led the Broncos with 2️⃣3️⃣ points; @marcus10shaver and @emmanuel_akot each added 1️⃣6️⃣.#AtThePeak | #BleedBlue pic.twitter.com/tGxsSYOD9z
— Mountain West (@MountainWest) March 2, 2022
Despite shooting 56% from the field, Nevada trailed at the half. This was in part due to 12 turnovers in the first half, which led to 14 Boise State points. The Wolf Pack were led by their big men. Leading the way was Will Baker with 10 points, followed by Warren Washington with eight points. The Broncos were extremely explosive on offense, shooting 48% from the field and 29% from the field. Marcus Shaver Jr and Abu Kigab led the way for Boise State, both scoring 14 points in the first half.
The hot shooting would continue after the halftime break. Nevada would close the gap to five behind 66% shooting at the U16 media break. Akot would stay hot as well, scoring a quick six points early in the half. An 8-0 scoring run would give the Broncos a 55-44 lead with 12 minutes left in the contest. Both teams would trade baskets, with the Broncos scoring 6-6 from the field and the Wolf Pack scoring 5-5 from the field in a five minutes span. Boise State would lead 68-65 with just over three minutes to play in the game.
As the game would tighten up, so would the teams as both went on a scoring drought longer than two minutes. The drought was broken by an Emmanuel Akot basket, putting the Broncos up 71-65 with 1:43 left in the game. Grant Sherfield was able to score two at the free-throw line, cutting the lead to four, 71-67 with only 50 seconds to play.
Nevada couldn’t capitalize, missing shots late in the game. Boise State was able to hang on to win this game, 73-67. While Nevada made things close during the second half, the Wolf Pack didn’t score a field goal in the final five minutes of the game. This scoreless stretch would prove to be the downfall for Nevada.
Both teams scored the ball at an incredible rate. Both Boise State and Nevada shot 50% from the field. The Broncos had the edge from deep, shooting 36% from beyond the arc, compared to Nevada’s 25%. While both teams played mediocre defensively, the Broncos forced 19 Nevada turnovers, resulting in 20 points.
Nevada was led by Kenan Blackshear who had 16 points and set the tone for the Wolf Pack defensively. Will Baker, Warren Washington, and Grant Sherfield were also able to get in double-digit scoring, finishing with 13, 12, and 10 points respectively. It is worth noting that Nevada’s leading scorers struggled Tuesday night, combining for 19 points, the lowest combined total by the duo since the loss to Utah State in late January.
Boise State was led by Abu Kigab. The 6’7 forward finished with 23 points, four rebounds, and three assists. Also scoring in double digits were Emmanuel Akot and Marcus Shaver Jr., with both Bronco players scoring 16 points. Boise State did a fantastic job at slowing down Nevada’s star duo and limited what the rest of the Wolf Pack could do offensively.
The Most Valuable Player in this contest was undoubtedly Abu Kigab. Kigab finished with 23 points on 9-12 from the field and made his last four shot attempts down the stretch. The big man would also add two shots from beyond the arc. Kigab looked confident in all aspects of the game and exploited Nevada’s cushioned defense.
Boise State (24-6, 15-2) ends their regular season on a stunner as the Broncos travel to face Colorado State (23-4, 13-4) Saturday at 7:30 PM PST. Nevada (12-16, 6-11) look to end their season on a high note as the Wolf Pack host San Diego State (19-7, 11-4) on Saturday night at 7:30 PM PST for senior night.