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Boise State eludes UNLV despite the Rebels’ hot shooting, host New Mexico in a pivotal game for both sides

The Broncos’ win against UNLV puts them one step closer to locking up a spot in the NCAA tournament.

NCAA Basketball: UNLV at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

We knew that the last stretch for Boise State was going to be tough, but how many heart attacks can one endure with four games left in Mountain West play?

Key Teams Stats of the Night

Field Goal Percentage

Boise State - 44.6%

UNLV - 43.6%

Three-Point Percentage

Boise State - 25.0%

UNLV - 42.3%

Free Throw Percentage

Boise State - 86.4%

UNLV - 66.7%

Stat Leaders


Marcus Shaver Jr. (BSU) - 19 points

Shane Nowell and EJ Harkless (UNLV) - 14 points


Max Rice (BSU) - 8 rebounds

Victor Iwuakor (UNLV) - 6 rebounds


Max Rice, Marcus Shaver Jr. and Jace Whiting (BSU) - 2 assists

Justin Webster and Jordan McCabe (UNLV) - 3 assists

Story of the Game

Coming into the game, it has been documented that UNLV has no shot at an at-large bid and that only a conference tournament run could suffice.

That doesn’t mean the Runnin’ Rebels can’t play spoiler as the regular season approaches its conclusion. This was especially true considering the 18-point loss that the Broncos handed Kevin Kruger’s squad back in January in Las Vegas.

This outing was much closer from the get-go and bench pieces that were inserted into the starting lineup for UNLV due to injuries stepped up mightily. Most of the first half was closely-contested, but the Rebels had the upper hand until the last seven minutes. Down seven, Bronco energizer Naje Smith produced a 7-0 run to knot the game up at 26. Boise State continued to commandeer momentum as the remaining minutes ticked away. A 12-6 run allowed the Broncos to take a six-point lead into intermission despite UNLV controlling the pace of play.

Out of halftime, UNLV came out the gates to tie the game up once again. However, the Broncos regrew their lead back to two possessions and were able to maintain that through all but the last four minutes of play. EJ Harkless did what he does best, that being scoring in isolation and making defenders look silly for trying to guard him. UNLV cut the lead to two with 2:13 left, but they couldn’t find that needed bucket to put the pressure on Boise State. Max Rice hit a beautiful baseline floater to give the Broncos a little buffer and Marcus Shaver Jr. tacked on a pair of free throws to enlarge the lead to six.

Rebel Jordan McCabe gave UNLV a pulse with a three-pointer that made it a three-point game with 43 seconds on the clock. After Shaver converted on two more free throws, Shane Nowell drilled a corner three that, suddenly, brought the game back to within two.

Reminiscent of Boise State’s loss to South Dakota State back in November, Shaver was sent to the charity stripe with a chance to ice the game. In a sign of growth and maturity, the do-it-all point guard calmly knocked down the pair of free throws to seal another win for Boise State.

Leaders rise in the hardest of times.


BOISE STATE BRONCOS (21-6, 11-3) 73

UNLV RUNNIN’ REBELS (12-15, 5-10) 69

BOISE STATE (21-6, 11-3) VS NEW MEXICO (20-7, 7-7)

Location: Boise, Idaho (ExtraMile Arena)

Date/Time: Friday, February 22nd at 8:30 p.m. (Mountain Time)

Traditional Television: Fox Sports 1 (FS1)

Streaming: Fox Sports app

Radio: KBOI 670 AM

Head-to-Head: Boise State trails the all-time series 9-13. In their matchup at The Pit just over a month ago, New Mexico got the last word as the Lobos earned the win in overtime, 81-79. This is the first time New Mexico has visited ExtraMile Arena since 2020 when the Broncos won twice in the span of three days.

Keys to Watch

1. How healthy is New Mexico guard Jaelen House?

  • It is no secret that the Lobos’ recent losing skid can be contributed in large part to the absence of House. Even if he isn’t 100%, his playmaking ability can open up the floor for Richard Pitino’s team.

2. Can Boise State utilize a defensive game plan that slows down Jamal Mashburn Jr.?

  • I’m not saying that you have to stop him, but there has to be a way for Mike Burns and his players to at least crowd Mashburn when he enters his favorite spot, the mid-range.

3. Will Lukas Milner have another substantial performance off the bench?

  • I love the energy that Milner plays with and it was fun to see him net some results in the box score during the UNLV game. Those nine points he contributed against the Rebels are the types of performances that can lift a team when things aren’t going right for the starting five.

Stat Leaders (Averages)


Boise State: Forward Tyson Degenhart - 14.4 Pts.

New Mexico: Guard Jamal Mashburn Jr. - 20.0 Pts.


Boise State: Guard Marcus Shaver Jr. - 6.0 Reb.

New Mexico: Forward Morris Udeze - 9.1 Reb.


Boise State: Guard Marcus Shaver Jr. - 4.0 Ast.

New Mexico: Guard Jaelen House - 4.6 Ast.


Via our friends at DraftKings, Boise State is currently a six-point favorite and the total is set at 148.


Final Score

Boise State 77 - New Mexico 73

What are your thoughts on the Broncos’ performance against UNLV?

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