LAS VEGAS – The Broncos aren’t done just yet.
The Boise State men’s basketball team extended its season by at least a day with a 66-57 win over No. 9 seed Colorado State Wednesday in the opening round of the Mountain West Tournament.
It’s the first win in the Mountain West Tournament since 2015 for the Broncos, who were upset in the quarterfinals in each of the past three seasons. And it keeps their season going for at least another day. The Broncos will face top seed Nevada at 1 p.m. MDT Thursday in the quarterfinals.
Boise State (13-19) carried over the momentum from a blowout win over Air Force in the regular season finale last Saturday, leading by as many as 13 points in the first half and overcoming a Colorado State run midway through the second half to pull away for the win.
Derrick Alston had 17 points to lead the Broncos, while Zach Haney added 16 points and seven rebounds.
The Broncos started both senior centers for the second straight game. David Wacker and Haney hadn’t played together on the court all season before they started and played well in the Senior Night win over Air Force, but it worked so well that night that they decided to roll with it again.
And it again paid off against as the Broncos as Nico Carvacho, the nation’s leading rebounder at 13.2 per game coming in, was held to just five rebounds and 12 points against the bigger Boise State lineup.
A back and forth game was tied at 16 midway through the first half when the Broncos ripped off a 10-0 run, capped by a nice inside move from RJ Williams and a jumper from Jessup, to go up 26-16 with 4:45 left in the half. After a bucket from Colorado State, the Broncos scored the next five points on another basket from Williams and a 3-pointer by Hobbs to open up a 31-18 lead with 3:20 left.
But two bad Boise State turnovers led to Colorado State buckets, and the Rams ended the half with an 8-2 spurt to cut the Broncos’ lead to 33-26 at the break.
The Rams kept the run going to start the second half, trimming the Boise State lead to 37-35 on a 3-pointer from J.D. Paige with 14:30 to go. The Colorado State run was 17-6 in all before a baseline jumper from Alex Hobbs made it 39-35.
Boise State pushed the lead to seven, but Colorado State answered right back and trailed just 42-40 on a bucket from Paige with 11:35 to play.
But a corner 3-pointer from Alston, a layup from Jessup and two free throws from Alston quickly pushed Boise State’s lead to 49-40, and a dunk from Alston and a 3-pointer from Marcus Dickinson extended the margin to 55-42 with 5:05 to play in the game.
Boise State tried to let the Rams back in the game with a couple of late turnovers, but the Broncos hit their free throws down the stretch and finished with the 66-57 win.
Alex Hobbs had 12 points and Marcus Dickinson added 10 for the Broncos, who shot 51.2 percent from the field and made 19 of 24 free throws.
Paige had 25 points to lead the Rams in the loss.