Make no mistake, Boise State Broncos senior RJ Williams showed up to play on Sunday against the New Mexico Lobos.
Williams put together a career-game as Boise State honored five seniors in their last home game. Williams had 27 points and 17 rebounds as the Broncos defeated the Lobos 74-61.
The victory moved Boise State (19-10, 11-6) into fourth-place in the Mountain West. There are among five teams battling for the four remaining first-round byes in the Mountain West tourney.
The Broncos led as many as 16 in this game, thanks in large part from the gritty effort by Williams. He battled all day under the boards, consistently made moves inside and played excellent defense. Williams finished his scoring with this emphatic alley-oop pass from Justinian Jessup:
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) February 23, 2020
Derrick Alston, Jr finished with 17 points and Jessup added 15 for the Broncos. Jessup also had five rebounds and five assists.
Boise State, which improved to 13-2 at home this season, had 13 offensive rebounds that led to 19 second-chance points. The Broncos have now won eight of their last ten games.
Vance Jackson led the Lobos (17-12, 6-10) with 19 points while Keith McGee chipped in 12.
Boise State finishes the regular season Wednesday (2/26) at UNLV, who is fresh off an upset-victory over San Diego State. The Broncos defeated UNLV by seven back on January 8.
Tip-off is at 9 pm (MT) and can be seen on the CBS Sports Network.
The five seniors for the Boise State Broncos were handed the start.
Robin Jorch opened the scoring with two free throws, but the Broncos followed that up by missing their first five field goal attempts. Falling behind 4-2, Jessup made a steal and fed Williams for the bucket to tie things up at four.
After the Broncos fell behind 8-7, they rattled off a 10-2 run with a nice up-and-under by Alston, a three-point play by Williams and a three by RayJ Dennis.
The Broncos would go scoreless for 4:11, allowing the Lobos to go up 21-20. This would turn out to be the Lobos last lead of the game.
Boise State outscored New Mexico 17-5 to end the half. Abu Kigab drained a three to end the drought, while Alston, Jessup, and Williams also scored during the last six minutes of the half.
Despite connecting only hitting 5-20 from three-point range in the first half, the Broncos led at the break 37-26.
Boise State Broncos rise
New Mexico cut the deficit to eight during the initial moments of the second half. Dennis, however, hit a three to start a 11-3 mini-run for Boise State. Williams also powered his way to a bucket and Jessup hit a three.
An Alston three gave the Broncos their largest lead of the game at 51-35.
Jackson and McGee kept the Lobos hanging around but the Boise State lead hovered between 10 and 12 for the next couple of minutes.
A 9-2 run by New Mexico, capped by a Jackson three, cut the Bronco lead to 60-54 with 7:18 remaining.
From there, though, it was all Boise State. The trio of Williams, Alston, and Jessup stringed together points while holding New Mexico to only two points over a five-minute span. The only points given up were on a defensive goaltending call on Williams.
The Broncos had a better second-half from three-point range, hitting 4-11. Despite a sloppy half with 10 turnovers, the Broncos were able to pull away for a comfortable 13-point victory.