Consider the ninth time a charm for the Boise State Broncos men’s basketball team against the Nevada Wolf Pack.
The Broncos snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Wolf Pack. Boise State led wire-to-wire, withstood a Nevada second-half rally, and picked up a key victory, 73-64.
Derrick Alston, Jr struggled from three-point range (1-8) but continually found ways to get into the lane and to the foul line. Alston was 11-14 from the charity stripe and led the Broncos with 24 points. Alston also had six rebounds and four assists.
Justinian Jessup contributed 17 points for the Broncos, including 12 in the second half. Jessup knocked down two 3-pointers, tying former BYU standout Jimmer Fredette for the Mountain West all-time record at 296 made threes.
In improving to 11-1 at home in 2019-20, the Broncos (15-8, 7-4) won their fourth straight and are now tied for second place in the Mountain West with the Colorado State Rams. Boise State defeated the Rams 75-64 back in December and own a tiebreaker. That game was the only time the teams face each other this season.
Routed by Nevada (13-10, 6-5) by 17 in January, Boise State played much better this time around. The Broncos knocked down ten 3’s, committed only 11 turnovers, and responded to everything Nevada threw at them.
Jalen Harris had a game-high 30 points for Nevada and was the main reason the Wolf Pack stayed in the game. Harris had 25 of his points after the break after being held to five in the first half.
Nevada was without Jazz Johnson, who torched the Broncos for 34 points in the first matchup.
Boise State hits the road for their next two games, facing Wyoming on Tuesday (2/4) and Utah State next Saturday (2/8).
A Boise State Broncos blitz
Much like the first matchup with Nevada, Boise State started quickly. Jessup scored the game’s first five points, followed by a RayJ Dennis three as the Broncos raced to an 8-0 lead.
Nevada battled back to make it 11-6 at the first media timeout at the 14:33 mark. A little over a minute later, Jessup picked up his second foul.
The early play of Alex Hobbs, however, helped spur a 9-0 Bronco run. Hobbs hit his second three-pointer of the game and also had a nice pass to Robin Jorch on a pick-and-roll. Alston converted on an old-fashioned three-point play to put the Broncos up 20-6.
Nevada finally found the bottom of the net after nearly four minutes without a field goal but the Broncos promptly ripped off another 8-0 run.
The lead would swell to 32-10 before Boise State went cold, not making a field goal for the last 5:33 of the first half.
Lucky for Boise State, Nevada wasn’t shooting much better. The Wolf Pack didn’t hit their first three until 1:31 left in the half. The Broncos did knock down a few throws in that span, making 10-11 total on the half, to lead at halftime 36-21.
Holding on for dear life
Boise State didn’t necessarily play bad in the second-half, even scoring one more point than they did in the first.
It’s just Nevada finally found their range, shooting 54.8 percent and knocking down six threes.
Specifically, it was the play of Harris, who scored the first four points of the half, part of an 11-0 run that began before halftime.
An Alston three ended that run and when Jessup hit a baseline jumper, Boise State was back up 44-27.
Harris, however, continued to shine. He scored 14 of the team’s first 19 points of the half. Nevada rattled off a 16-4 run to close within five at the 11:50 mark.
A minute later, Nevada guard Lindsey Drew closed the game to 48-45, driving in after an offensive rebound by Zane Meeks.
Nevada again, however, would go over four minutes without a field goal. Jessup and Alston helped pushed the lead back to 12 during this span. The deficit was cut to four with 4:30 left on a three by Drew, but Jessup followed that up with his record-tying three.
And from there, despite some missed free throws, the Broncos were able to seal the victory.
Hobbs had eight points off the bench while Dennis and RJ Williams each had six.
No other Wolf Pack player was in double figures, though Drew did have a game-high 10 rebounds.