GAME NOTES: After nearly knocking off a nationally-ranked foe on Wednesday night, the Boise State Broncos head back to Taco Bell Arena where they will host the Wyoming Cowboys in Mountain West Conference action.
Winners of all but one of their eight games at home in 2013-14, the Broncos are a team that began the campaign with eight straight wins overall, but have since been taken down a few notches. Three nights ago, BSU put up a strong fight against San Diego State at Viejas Arena, but came up just short in a 69-66 final. The loss was the second in the last three outings for Boise State.
As for the Cowboys, they too were in action on Wednesday against one of the better teams in the MWC, New Mexico, and while they entered the meeting with an 8-1 home mark at Arena Auditorium, the Pokes ended up on the wrong side of a 72-69 overtime decision. The loss was the second in as many outings for Wyoming, a team which has come up empty in four true road games this season.
As far as the all-time series is concerned, the Cowboys own a 10-7 advantage over Boise State dating back to 1979. The most recent meeting favored the Broncos at home last February by a score of 68-61.
The Cowboys were paced by Riley Grabau who dropped in a career-high 24 points, shooting a perfect 10-of-10 at the free-throw line on Wednesday night. Nathan Sobey contributed 16 points and Josh Adams 12 as the team bowed in overtime. Grabau, who sent the meeting to the extra session, had a chance to tie the game again at the end of the bonus period but his 3-pointer missed the mark. Wyoming, which was beaten on the glass by a 37-31 margin, logged just five offensive rebounds in the meeting.
Larry Nance Jr., who finished with nine points, seven rebounds and six blocked shots versus New Mexico, continues to lead the team in scoring with his 15.7 ppg and is also first on the glass with 9.0 rpg, more than enough reason for him to remain in the paint and refrain but taking shots from 3-point range where he is just 26.9 percent accurate. Grabau, who is carrying a sensational 53.3 percent accuracy beyond the arc, is now up to 12.4 ppg in the scoring department, ahead of Adams and his 11.4 ppg.
Boise State's Ryan Watkins scored the first points of the game versus the Aztecs on Wednesday, but it wasn't long before SDSU was out to a 9-2 advantage, eventually leading by as many as 18 points. However, the Broncos refused to go away quietly, closing to within a point at 67-66 on a jumper by Derrick Marks, but in the end the visitors simply ran out of opportunities in the three-point final. Marks finished with 21 points, Anthony Drmic 17 and 10 rebounds, while Watkins came up a point shy of his own double-double with 10 boards as well.
Shooting a pedestrian 31.6 percent behind the 3-point line these days, Drmic is still playing well enough at the offensive end of the floor to pace the Broncos with his 19.3 ppg. Marks, who is playing about 5.5 minutes per game less than Drmic, checks in with 15.8 ppg and leads the group with 41 assists, but he too has had his issues out on the perimeter where he has made good on only 25.0 percent of his tries. Nevertheless, because of Jeff Elorriaga (10.6 ppg) and his 43-of-80 (.538) beyond the arc, the team as a whole comes in at 39.2 percent from the perimeter.
After allegations that Wyoming may have been shooting on a rim that was above regulation in the first half on Wednesday night, getting back to some normalcy should keep them in contention again. However, the poor results for the Pokes on the road thus far will continue to haunt them.
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