Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bombs Away!

Boise State blitzed New Mexico with 15 three-pointers, one shy of the Bronco school record, in a 76-65 victory over the Lobos last night in Taco Bell Arena.
Derrick Marks poured in 30 points and Nick Duncan scored a career-high 26 as Boise State won for the 11th time in 12 games.  In this season of firsts, the Broncos swept perennial Mountain West Conference power New Mexico for the first time in school history. 

Duncan nailed eight three-pointers and Marks had five to consistently keep the Lobos at bay.  Boise State opened up a 19-point lead in the first half before New Mexico rallied to cut the deficit to 10 at the half (39-29). 

Deshawn Delaney scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half, and Hugh Greenwood's three-pointer cut the lead to 43-36 with 17:51 remaining.  Greenwood finished with 13 points for New Mexico.
Cue the Nick Duncan show.  In less than four minutes, the 6-8 sophomore from Australia thrilled the Bronco faithful with three treys and two free throws (with a three-pointer from Marks thrown in) as Boise State exploded to take a 57-38 lead.  Coach Leon Rice's team extended that lead to 22 on another Marks triple on Boise State's next possession.

But the proud Lobos again battled back, reducing the margin to 11 on a three-pointer from Delaney with 6:01 to play.  Coach Rice elected to take the air out of the ball at that point, and the Broncos coasted to victory.   

Marks and Duncan combined for 56 of the 76 points for Boise State, and they scored 20 of the Broncos' 26 field goals.  Marks, the leading candidate for Player of the Year in the Mountain West, also had five rebounds, five assists and two steals, as he has greatly stepped up his all-around game this season.  After hitting 7-7 on three-point attempts the last time the two teams met in Albuquerque, James Webb III finished with two points, but controlled the boards with 11 rebounds.

Marks collected his sixth 30-point game of the season and moved into sixth place on the all-time Mountain West scoring list.  Marks now has 1,814 career points to pass New Mexico guard Kendall Williams (1,813 from 2010-2014).  Derrick also topped the 500-point mark for the third season (523), joining Tanoka Beard (1989-1993) as the only Broncos to accomplish the feat. 

Marks also tied Abe Jackson (1998-2002) and Jermaine Blackburn (2004-05) for 11th place on the single-season scoring list with 523 points.  Marks is one point away from Beard for tenth position.

Marks passed Jackson for second-place all-time in field goal attempts with 1,321.  With one more steal, Marks will catch former Bronco greats Gerry Washington (1995-1999) and Anthony Thomas (2006-2010), who each had 179 career steals, for fourth place in the Boise State record book.

Marks also passed former Bronco great Bill Otey (1968-1969) for field goals in a season with 194 and currently sits in tenth place at Boise State.

The Lobos shot extremely well (55.6% from the field and 50% on three-point tries), but a harassing Bronco defense led to a 16-2 advantage off turnovers.

With a Wyoming loss, Boise State is now alone in second place in the Mountain West, one game behind San Diego State.  That sets up a showdown in San Diego this Saturday between the two conference leaders, with the winner in the driver's seat for the regular season championship.

Bronco Gymnasts Remain at #15

After an impressive win on the road at Ohio State, Boise State remains at #15 in the NCAA Women's Gymnastics rankings.

The main reason is that the Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) kicked in this week, meaning that there is now enough data for teams to be ranked by the RQS.  It is the sole basis for national gymnastics rankings, but because of some quirks with the formula, it takes several meets for enough teams to establish the RQS to be able to rank them.  Prior to this week, the teams were simply ranked on average score.  The RQS takes into account whether the score was at home or on the road.