Broncos Move into Semifinals with Quarterfinal Win Over Wolf Pack
LAS VEGAS - Despite giving up two double-digit leads, No. 6 Boise State closed its 2014 Reese's Mountain West Men's Basketball Championship quarterfinal game against No. 3 Nevada on a strong note, finishing the game on a 19-5 run to earn a 75-62 victory at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The win moves the Broncos (21-12) into Friday's semifinal round, where they will take on 20th-ranked and second-seeded New Mexico (25-6), with tipoff scheduled for 8:30 p.m. PT on CBS Sports Network. The Boise State-New Mexico winner will face either No. 8/7 and top-seeded San Diego State (28-3) or fourth-seeded UNLV (20-12) in Saturday's championship game, which will be broadcast on CBS and is slated for a 3 p.m. PT start.
"It was a gritty effort by our guys," said Boise State head coach Leon Rice. "We really dug in and got some stops when we needed them. I thought Anthony (Drmic) really sparked us in the second half with his defensive effort. That got our offense going. Primarily, I think we won this game on the defensive end."
Boise State opened the second half on a 14-2 run to turn a 32-32 halftime score into a 46-34 advantage. Nevada fought back and briefly grabbed a one-point lead at 57-56 before the Broncos sealed the deal with the late-game surge.
Just as they did in the second half, the Broncos began the first half strong, bolting out to a 26-15 lead, only for Nevada to rattle off a 15-1 run to take a 29-28 lead. The two teams traded buckets down the closing minutes and went into halftime tied at 32 apiece.
Nevada senior guard Deonte Burton, who made his 130th consecutive start, led the Wolf Pack with 22 points on 6-of-15 shooting. Sophomore forward Cole Huff was the other Nevada player to reach double figures, finishing with 17 points.
"It's been great coaching Denote," said Nevada head coach David Carter. "Obviously I am going to miss him. He's been a true leader. He's really raised the bar for our program in terms of work ethic. I always knew what I was going to get from him. That's a special player when you know he's going to come to battle for you. He's been special. I think he's had a great impact on our program."
Boise State was led by junior guard/forward Anthony Drmic, who scored 17 points. Junior guard Derrick Marks became the eighth player in MW tournament history to successfully convert 10-plus free-throws in a game, as he was 11-for-11 from the charity stripe. He finished with 16 points while senior forward Ryan Watkins recorded his 23rd-career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Watkins eclipsed the 800-rebound mark for his career (804), becoming just the third player in Boise State history to do so.