This was a "scrappy" game. That term is used a lot, but this game was physical. It was like a team that had a lot to play for and a team that had a lot to prove.
As it turned out, New Mexico had more....
The Lobos outlasted the Broncos 70-67, but not for lack of trying. Boise showed us the team that we were waiting for all year. The Broncos hit the essential shots, played tight defense, and completely opened up the floor. Not to say that it wasn't close.
The Broncos made it clear early on that they weren't going to be pushed around. However, the Lobos expressed a similar statement. BSU and UNM split games this year, with the Lobos losing by one point in Boise. In both of those games the Broncos commanded the rebound advantage 76-53. This game the Lobos out rebounded the Broncos 37-33.
New Mexico jumped out to a 12-2 lead early in the first half. Then Elorriaga hit a pair of 3-pointers to get BSU within three points. Deshawn Delaney provided some much needed energy for the Lobos near the end of the first half, scoring eight points overall including a spirited dunk to put the Lobos up 33-27. Williams dropped a layup to which Mikey Thomson answered with a pair of free throws to end the half 35-29.
The second half started much of the same. Every time the Lobos started to find a rhythm the Broncos hit a big shot to keep it close. What really deflated New Mexico was Delaney's departure due to a hip injury.
With the Lobos up by three Thomas Bropleh hit some huge three to tie the game at 46. Bropleh seems to excel against UNM. He hit four 3-pointers when BSU defeated UNM earlier this season.
Dezmyn Trent missed two free throws to give BSU their first lead of the game. Mercifully, Delaney came back into the game and banked another clutch layup to give the Lobos some confidence.
Following a Bropleh air ball, Williams hit a huge three pointer to ignite the offense and the Lobo-heavy crowd. Bropleh escaped Bairstow to hit yet another three to keep it a two-point game, 51-49.
It was a back-and-forth through the last four seconds. After a pair of Derrick Marks free throws, Williams hit a huge, off-balance three pointer to give the Lobos a 64-59 lead with 1:50 left to play. UNM managed to keep BSU at bay despite a Elorriage three pointer.
This was just what the Lobos needed. It was a close call, but one that they earned. They will have to cash in on the progress made tonight, and double it tomorrow against conference rival SDSU...and beyond.