BOISE, Idaho (AP) New Mexico used a 15-2 run late in the second half coupled with timely free throw shooting down the stretch to sneak by Boise State 88-83 Saturday afternoon in Taco Bell Arena. Nick Duncan led the way for the Broncos with 19 points, who now fall to 15-7 on the year and 6-3 in MW conference play.
The Broncos led 65-61 with 6:03 left to play in the game, but a Lobo surge that included three 3-pointers and six free throws allowed the visitors to open up a 76-67 lead at the 2:07 mark in the second half. New Mexico (13-8, 6-2 MW) was able to maintain the lead with a near perfect performance from the line in the second half, as they went 16-for-17 in the latter 20 minutes.
“The coaches are putting us in a position to win,” said Lonnie Jackson. “We just need to start following the scouting report, even on the offensive end. They’re drawing up all the right things. It just comes down to us. We’ve got to step up as seniors and start holding guys accountable for every possession and staying locked in. The coaches have prepared us well, we’re just not executing as players.”
Thompson added a career-high 10 assists for the first double-double of his career. The senior also had five steals and did not commit a turnover. It is the first time a Bronco has had double-figure assists and zero turnovers since at least the 1985-86 season (single-game records date to 1986-87). It is the first points-assists double-double by a Bronco since Jan. 24, 2009, when Anthony Thomas scored 12 points to go with 10 assists.
Trailing 40-39 at the half, Boise State came out of the gates strong in the second half and used a 9-0 run – capped off by two treys from Duncan – to pull ahead 50-45 at the 16:24 mark. But in what was a game of runs, New Mexico responded accordingly by ripping off a 14-0 run that allowed them to reclaim the lead, 59-50 with 11:12 to play.
Boise State then answered with a punch of their own and broke off an 11-2 run to tie the game at 61-61 with 6:50 remaining in the game. New Mexico had their 15-2 run shortly after, and eventually pulled away despite several timely shots from the Broncos that resulted in 13 points in the last 62 seconds of the game.
The first half was an up-and-down affair that saw the Lobos lead for the majority of the first 20 minutes. The visitors opened up the game with a 10-6 lead at the 15:52 mark after making five of their first seven shots. The Broncos battled back, however, as a Paris Austin trey made it a tie game at 18-18 with 9:30 to play in the half.
Boise State was able to grab their first lead of the game when Duncan drew a foul on a three-pointer and knocked down all three free throws to give the home team a 39-37 advantage with 16.5 seconds to play. But New Mexico was able reclaim the lead after Elijah Brown banked in a three at the buzzer from 30 feet to give the Lobos the 40-39 lead at the break.
Both teams played a clean first half as shown by just six turnovers between the two teams (New Mexico – 4, Boise State – 2). The Lobos’ one-point lead came primarily from a 17-11 advantage on the glass and hot shooting from the field (15-of-27, 56%), the highest opponent shooting percentage against Boise State since Feb. 8, 2014, at Utah State.
Elijah Brown led all scorers with 30 points, and Tim Williams was close behind with 21 of his own.
“There are no guys that aren’t playing as hard as they can, it just has to mean everything to them,” said Rice of Boise State’s defensive effort.”We’ve had some guys in the past where they would say `let me guard that guy. I’ll do it, I’ll do it.’ I’m not sure we have a team full of those guys right now. So we’re going to have to change our mindset if we want to be competitive in this league. ”
Anthony Drmic also reached double-digit points, finishing with 10, and moved up to No. 8 on the all-time Mountain West scoring list.
Broncos will remain at home and welcome Utah State on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 7 p.m. Fans are encouraged to wear black, as it will be a blackout.