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Broncos upset UNLV at home in Mountain West showdown

Cody Finney / The Arbiter

Junior Ryan Watkins lifted his right hand and covered his right eye shaping an “O” flashing the famous “three goggles” to the crowd. The 9,356 Bronco fans erupted, setting the tone for
the night.

The Broncos opened the game on an 11-2 run and never let the rebels take the lead. Sophomore Anthony Drmic led Boise State with 22 points as the Broncos (15-6, 3-4) ran the Rebels out of Boise on Saturday night winning 77-72.

UNLV (17-5,4-3) led by freshman Anthony Bennett who scored 25 points on 9-16 shooting. Senior guard Anthony Marshall twice brought UNLV within one but with that was the closest the Rebels would get to taking the lead.

“He has got to be the best freshman in the country,” Head Coach Leon Rice said. “He shoots well, physical, strong, really good player.”

The Rebels allowed 11 second chance points despite being out-rebounded 30-28. UNLV had trouble containing the Broncos, who shot 49.1 percent from the field. Boise State continued to swing the ball from side to side to get easy buckets in the paint and got the rebels in foul trouble.

UNLV’s Justin Hawkins missed a three pointer that would have pulled the Rebels within one and a missed layup by  Khem Birch and two missed free throws from Marshall, forced the Rebels to foul.

“The student section was going crazy,” junior Jeff Elorriaga said as Marshall stepped up to take his last pair of free throws. “We have to thank the crowd on that one. It was loud.”

The win is Rice’s 50th career  victory. He is the fastest to achieve fifty wins in school history.

After crediting the seniors he inherited in his first year and staff for all their work, Rice admitted he was not satisfied.

“Fifty doesn’t sound like enough to me,” Rice said.

The Broncos will get their chance to get  Rice win No. 51 on Wednesday at San Diego State.