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Boise State earns favorable split against UNLV and San Diego State

While the Broncos had their 22-home game win streak snapped, they responded with a high-profile win against the Aztecs.

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

UNLV 68 - BOISE STATE 64

Not everything lasts forever.

The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels put forth more effort than the Broncos a week ago today and combine that with some timely shooting and it just wasn’t their night.

It was bound to happen in the barfight that is the Mountain West. Boise State had just finished playing both Colorado State and Nevada and were set to host almighty San Diego State Saturday. Head coach Kevin Kruger has assembled a talented team led by a freshman guard in Dedan Thomas Jr. that can compete with and beat the top teams in the conference.

There is a collection of six teams that have at-large hopes come March, but UNLV is going to make each of those teams sweat it out.

This result is technically Boise State’s first “bad” loss of the season, falling into quadrant three, but I suspect that with UNLV’s firepower and the countless opportunities ahead that this game will rise to quad two by the beginning of March.

BOISE STATE 67 - SAN DIEGO STATE 66

Big time CBS.

Clark Kellogg in the building.

The lights were bright in Boise last Saturday for a marquee Mountain West matchup of two programs that mirror each other.

Two of the longest tenured coaches in the league, Leon Rice and Brian Dutcher, knew that this contest was going to be tighter than spandex on a sumo wrestler. It is always an instant classic when these two meet on the hardwood.

Out of the gate, both teams struggled offensively — shocking, I know. Eventually, both squads would warm up and find their rhythm. Roddie Anderson III has been making strides on offense and his impact in the first half cannot be understated.

Having your point guard be a true threat is not only a plus, but come tournament time, it is a necessity.

No one truly had a great game for the Broncos...other than the one and only O’Mar Stanley. Taking contested shots off the dribble, attacking in the post against all-conference caliber defenders.

Heck, he was launching threes off the catch like he was in the practice gym.

And nailing them, too.

Things got a little dicey in the second half when the Aztecs decided to start making shots. Darrion Trammell and Anderson III began jawing at one another, pulling out a throwback And1 back-and-forth on consecutive possessions. It was competition at its finest.

Stanley led the way in recapturing the lead and building on it, extending the Broncos margin to seven with under six minutes to go.

Then...the nightmare that is the full-court press and trapping began.

During these past three seasons, Boise State has not exactly been dynamite at breaking the press and getting the ball up the floor. It has nearly cost them in games that they otherwise had in the bag.

Despite being up eight with one minute to go, the Broncos began to self-destruct with missed free throws and untimely turnovers. A Max Rice free throw in the waning seconds gave Boise State the four-point lead and secured the win — but not before a Lamont Butler triple that caused mini heart attacks throughout The X.

A win is a win, but gee wiz.

This was, in totality, a statement win for the blue and orange that more than made up for the resume-downer that was the loss to UNLV. The Broncos now have four quad one wins, something that very few teams can proclaim.

THIS WEEK

Boise State finally gets an “easy” game against one of the bottom four (Air Force, San Jose State, Wyoming, and Fresno State).

They will take on Fresno State tonight in a late one (8:30 — MT) at the Save Mart Center. The Bulldogs are 1-4 in conference play, their lone win being San Jose State. There are no guaranteed wins in the Mountain West (see Nevada’s loss to Wyoming), but the Broncos should be able to take care of business.

All of the focus this week will be on Saturday’s date with the Utah State Aggies coming to the Treasure Valley. Barring any upsets during the course of this week, this will be a battle of the top two teams in the conference via the MWC standings. Both of these teams aren’t fond of one another and the Rice family has become a bit of a running joke in Logan. This will be a quad one opportunity for both teams.