James Webb III tallied 25 points and nine rebounds as Boise State (12-4, 3-0) prevented a collapse against Fresno State (11-6, 2-2) with a 81-70 win. Marvelle Harris led the Bulldogs with 26 and helped Fresno State crawl back within three after trailing by as much as 21 points in the second half.
Nick Duncan and Anthony Drmic scored 13 apiece for BSU; Mikey Thompson also finished in double figures with 12 points.
It was the ninth consecutive victory for the red-hot Broncos who are looking more and more like a NCAA Tournament-caliber team. Boise State is off to a quick 3-0 start in conference play after going winless in its first three games last season. Fresno State manufactured an impressive comeback but it wasn't enough to end Boise State's lengthy winning streak for the second consecutive year.
The Broncos were scorching from the field in the first half, connecting on 18 of 27 shots and led by a score of 51-32 at the half. With 10:20 left in the first period, Fresno State led 22-21, but the Bulldogs were only able to convert one field goal the remainder of the half, giving the Broncos a large advantage heading into the final 20 minutes of play.
After a Chandler Hutchison tomahawk jam across the baseline with just over 14 minutes left, the game seemed all but decided. But Fresno State started to heat up from the field and Boise State was unable to take the lid off the basket until 7:35 left in the game on a Nick Duncan layup to make it 67-58 Broncos.
The Bulldogs cut the lead to 67-64 with five minutes remaining in the game and the once-raucous Taco Bell Arena crowd was silenced. However, the Broncos were able to fend off Fresno State with strong defense and rebounding, which has been the staple of Boise State's long winning streak.
Without the effort on the defensive side of the floor, the Broncos could have been in trouble. Boise State struggled tremendously down the stretch at the free throw line, missing 10 free throws in the final five minutes. The Broncos finished 25-39 at the line against a Bulldog team that committed 32 personal fouls.
Once again, Boise State was unable to play at a high level for the complete 40 minutes, but it was enough to win the game and keep the streak alive.
Next up for Fresno State will be a home matchup next Saturday against San Jose State.
Boise State will head to Reno against Nevada on Wednesday.