The Broncos did everything they needed to beat UNLV...and they didn't. Here's how
The better team lost— D Marks (@DerrickMarks2) March 6, 2013
(Tweet has since been deleted)
That gem is from Boise State's guard Derrick Marks this morning. While he will get in trouble for saying something stupid on twitter, his statement is absolutely accurate. The two teams were extremely close in field goal percentage, however, BSU went crazy on the 3-point field goals, shooting 52 percent.
They out-rebounded UNLV at the Thomas & Mack, something extremely difficult to do. The only thing that really created this loss was foul trouble. You could make an argument about how UNLV forced 17 turnovers, but those didn't lead to points, as the Rebels were missing easy layups left and right, in transition no less. So how did Boise State lose this match?
The Mountain West referees.
This isn't a new problem and it certainly isn't "the refs hate Boise State" problem. This is a pressing issue that needs to be taken from the MWC front office. When fans make note of it, that's one thing because they're fans. When announcers take notice, its another. There were bad calls on both teams, however the calls that put both Drmic and especially Marks to the bench (eventually permanently for the rest of the night) were anything short of atrocious. Even a couple of the fouls called on Moser which sent the UNLV crowd into unanimous boos were weak compared to the NBA flopping fouls.
However in the end, it wasn't how bad the call was, it was the position that the Broncos got called in. UNLV got sent to the line 28 times, making 22 of them (as opposed to BSU's 10 free throw attempts, making only seven). If there were 25% less fouls called, in general on both teams: the Broncos would have won this game. Anthony Drmic and Jeff Elorriaga led the way for Boise State with 22 and 19 points respectively (Marks only had 4). Anthony Marshall and Bryce Dejean-Jones had 16 for UNLV (both had 6 points off free throws) while Katin Reinhardt and Anthony Bennett also added 11 points for the Rebels (both with 2 free throws apiece to put them over double-digit scoring).
UNLV locks up the No. 2 seed while Boise State must win on Saturday to fight for a potential No. 4 seed in conference tournament and NCAA at-large bid.