Double MW trouble: Men’s basketball suffers back-to-back Mountain West losses over week

Double MW trouble: Men’s basketball suffers back-to-back Mountain West losses over week

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MCT Campus Wire Service

It’s been a recent rough patch for the Broncos starting in Mountain West play, kicking it off with New Mexico Wednesday night at Taco Bell Arena

New Mexico junior guard Tony Snell, a 2009 graduate of King High School in Riverside, Calif., played like royalty Wednesday night. Snell scored 22 points leading No. 19 New Mexico to a 79-74 overtime victory over Boise State. Sophomore guard Hugh Greenwood added 15 points, including a game-tying bucket under one minute remaining in regulation, while also bringing down seven rebounds.

Junior guard Kendall Williams scored 11 points and dished out a game-high six assists, as the Lobos (16-2, 3-0 MWC) picked up their third straight victory.

The loss snaps Boise States’ (13-4, 1-2 MWC) seven-game win streak and is the Broncos’ first home loss of the season. Sophomore guard Derrick Marks, led all scorers with 27 points on 10-of-20 shooting. Junior forward Ryan Watkins had a double-double scoring 12 points and corralling ten
rebounds.

The game featured eight lead changes in the first half. Mountain West conference player of the week, redshirt sophomore center Alex Kirk was contained to only two points in the first half and was forced to sit for most of the second after picking up his third foul with 18:52
remaining.

The Lobos fought through Kirks’ absence and even had a chance to take a one-point lead into halftime, but Snell only made one free-throw attempt and the teams remained tied 37-37 after 20 minutes.

“Every time we play we know its going to be a battle,” Watkins said. “We have to execute down the stretch. We expect to win.”

Boise State took the lead late in the second half off back-to-back baskets from sophomore guard Anthony Drmic, but a Williams layup with 1:37 left gave the Lobos a 61-60 edge. Marks answered with a 3-point dagger, giving the Broncos a two-point lead.

Greenwood came up with a huge basket and tied the game at 63 with 55 seconds left. Both Marks and Williams would ultimately get a chance to knock down a jumper for the win, but both missed on contested 10 to 12 footers and the game went into overtime.

“Greenwood is a great player,” Drimic said. “He stepped up and made some big plays.”

Watkins fouled out with 3:32 to go in overtime and the Lobos made the most of the opportunity. Immediately getting the ball down in the post to Kirk. The Broncos were unable to deal with his size and fouled him twice sending him to the free throw line where he was perfect all night, shooting eight for eight. This propelled an early 8-3 run for New Mexico, capped off by a Snell baseline jumper with 2:28 left in extra time which made it 71-66.

The Broncos closed the gap to 74-71 after freshman guard Mikey Thompson made two free throws. Sophomore guard Igor Hadziomerovic stole the inbound pass and found Drmic open for three. As it clanged off the iron and New Mexico came up with the rebound. The Lobos made their free throws and secure the
win 79-74.

Boise State then fell short to Air Force on the road, 91-80. Watkins led the Broncos with 24 points and 13 rebounds, yet the Bronco defense could not handle the Falcons’ hot shooting.

The Broncos will look to regain their momentum at home against Fresno State this Wednesday, and as Head Coach Leon Rice said: “This league is about the teams that can recover the
quickest.”