GAME NOTES: The Boise State Broncos try to run their win streak to three in a row tonight, as they clash with the New Mexico Lobos in Mountain West Conference action.
After losing back-to-back decisions against San Diego State and Wyoming, the Broncos bounced back with a 74-65 victory versus Nevada last week and then took down Utah State at home on Saturday in a 78-74 final. BSU is now 3-2 in conference play, matching the team's record on the road in 2013-14.
As for the Lobos, they've won six of the last seven contests on the schedule, but that one setback was a rare defeat at home versus UNLV last Wednesday. New Mexico did respond well however, traveling to Fresno State on Saturday and taking down the Bulldogs by a score of 89-78 at the Save Mart Center. With a mark of 4-1 in the MWC, UNM is tied with Nevada for second place in the standings behind only nationally-ranked San Diego State.
As far as the all-time series is concerned, the Lobos are 2-0 versus Boise State heading into this meeting. The teams will complete their regular-season series on Feb. 12 when they meet at Taco Bell Arena in Idaho.
Boise State led by as many as 12 points in the first half against the Aggies over the weekend, but that advantage not only dwindled to just three at the break, the Broncos also fell behind by five late in the second before pulling out the win. Ryan Watkins registered a double-double with 15 points and 16 rebounds, while Derrick Marks tallied a team-best 19 points for the hosts. Nick Duncan hit on 5-of-9 behind the 3-point line and finished with 17 points off the bench, followed by Anthony Drmic with 10.
In conference games, Boise State is putting up 70.8 ppg, but the squad is shooting just 41.2 percent from the floor. Making a bigger impact is the team's efforts on the glass which have resulted in a rebounding advantage of an even 10.0 rpg. Drmic leads the way against the rest of the MWC with his 16.6 ppg, followed by Marks (14.2 ppg) and Watkins (13.0 ppg), the latter also accounting for a massive 12.6 rpg as well.
Before fouling out, Cameron Bairstow turned in a strong outing with 22 points and eight rebounds, shooting 14-of-19 at the free-throw line, as the Lobos converted 29-of-41 at the charity stripe altogether. Cullen Neal made a huge impact off the bench with 17 points in 22 minutes, followed by Kendall Williams with a conservative 13 points. Alex Kirk responded with 12 points and seven boards and Cleveland Thomas 10 points as a reserve this time around.
Bairstow continues to spur on the New Mexico offense with his team-high 20.5 ppg, to go along with 7.2 rpg which is second only to Kirk (13.9 ppg) who is pulling down 9.3 rpg at the moment. Williams checks in with 17.8 ppg and is by far the most unselfish player on the roster with his 90 assists, more than twice as many as his closest teammate.
Having recently lost in The Pit where they are traditionally hard to take down, the Lobos have the added incentive of proving to the hometown fans that last week's setback to UNLV was an exception and not the rule moving forward.
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