Yet another devastating loss in March at the Mountain West Conference Tournament for Leon Rice and Boise State, making it four tough losses in a row for the Broncos who needed to get back in the win column as Selection Sunday approaches.
The Broncos had no answers for the prolific scoring of Desmond Cambridge and Grant Sherfield of the Nevada Wolf Pack, who torched Boise State on its way to a 89-82 win for Nevada to advance for a date with San Diego State tomorrow.
Cambridge and Sherfield, with 31 and 26 respectively, led the offensive showing for the Wolf Pack who shot at 50% from the field and from 3-point range to get ahead of Boise State early and never looked back.
In a game that they needed to win, Boise State never never led in the game. The Broncos went on an 11-0 run at the end of the first half and at the beginning of the second half to cut it to a one-point game, but that was the closest Boise State would get.
“The first half was a heck of an offensive display by Nevada and somehow we scrapped and clawed, hung in there and weathered the storm. We had it a six at halftime...but we never got over the hump in the second half. That’s the key in a game like that, you got to make a surge, catch them and get a lead. We were never able to do that and we weren’t able to string enough stops at the end,” Boise State head coach Leon Rice said after the loss.
Along with the duo of Cambridge and Sherfield combining for 57 points, Warren Washington added 18 points for Nevada. The Wolf Pack capitalized on hot 3-point shooting in the first half, making nine of 13 shots to build its lead. Boise State had prided themselves on defending the three well, but the combination of the hot shooting from Nevada and Boise State regression led to the Wolf Pack exposing the Broncos.
Boise State struggled shooting in the second half. They shot 35.7% from the field, after hitting 16 of 23 baskets in the first half, and made only four of 12 3-pointers in the second half.
Projected in many bracketology fields as one of the last teams win, Boise State was already in serious danger of falling out of the field if they suffered a loss in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Tournament. Immediately after the loss, Jerry Palm of CBS Sports dropped to Boise State to the last team in the field with still a lot of to happen in the next two days.
Here is the updated seed list and bubble from Joe Lunardi, who now has the Broncos out of the field and Utah State is in after its win against UNLV.
Prior attachment was the wrong one...this is correct. pic.twitter.com/RX7lLOCZm2— Joe Lunardi (@ESPNLunardi) March 12, 2021
The Broncos were without Abu Kigab, who was the their second leading scorer with 11.8 points per game. Kigab got hurt in the final regular season game of the season against Fresno State, a Quad 4 loss for the Broncos that knocked them down.
It looks like Boise State will not make the NCAA Tournament, unless all hell breaks loose the bubble the next three days. Ole Miss, Seton Hall, Utah State, and Colorado State all still have chances of improving its resume with games remaining games they have in the conference tournaments.
When asked after the game about possibly adding another game to help its resume, Rice immediately shut down that idea. Rice also dismissed talk about Boise State’s resume and whether if they are a tournament team. He did day he wanted to keep playing so it is likely the Broncos will go to the NIT if invited to make sure there season ends better than what it has been the past few weeks.