No. 22 San Diego State stifles Boise State men’s basketball in first-place matchup

Gregory Bull/AP

A turnover on Boise State’s opening possession in a first-place showdown against No. 22 San Diego State was a sign of things to come.

The Broncos coughed up 12 turnovers and shot just 2-for-18 from behind the 3-point line as the Aztecs’ defense clamped down for a 72-52 Mountain West victory Friday night at Viejas Arena in San Diego.

The victory gave San Diego State (18-5, 9-2 MW) sole possession of first place in the Mountain West with seven games remaining in the regular season. The two teams will meet again in Boise on Feb. 28.

“We started ... with a turnover and it was almost like putting blood in the water for the sharks,” Boise State coach Leon Rice told KBOI 670-AM in a postgame radio interview.

“They were like, ‘OK, we’re gonna test the freshman and get after him.’ That’s a tough position to put that freshman in.”

Boise State freshman Jace Whiting started in place of fifth-year senior point guard Marcus Shaver Jr., who was on the bench with a boot on his right foot, and the Broncos (18-6, 8-3) looked disjointed on offense from the get-go. Boise State made just 11.1% from behind the arc, its lowest percentage of the season, and was outrebounded 36-28.

San Diego State grabbed its first double-digit lead with about 8 minutes remaining in the first half and just built it from there. The Aztecs were up 43-21 at halftime and led by 25 points midway through the second half.

“This is definitely a tough one to not have Shaver,” Boise State redshirt senior Max Rice said. “Especially with all that first-half pressure. It’s not ideal to throw a freshman into that kind of pressure, but credit to them. They were ready for us tonight. We were tired. We were kinda beat down a little bit and I think you kind of saw that in the first half.”

Sophomore Tyson Degenhart, Boise State’s leading scorer, played just 27 minutes because of foul trouble and finished with nine points, four rebounds and one assist. Max Rice paced the Broncos with 16 points, going 7-for-15 from the floor, but he missed all five of his 3-pointers.

Junior Chibuzo Agbo chipped in nine points and five rebounds.

“First things first, we’ve gotta get healthy. ... Our margin is slim,” Leon Rice said. “What I mean by that is we can’t afford to be without one of our starters, and especially the quarterback. Our football team without (quarterback) Taylen (Green), they’d notice. And we noticed it without Marcus.

“But I was proud of the way these guys fought in the second half. They didn’t just throw in the towel. They kept going.”

San Diego State senior forward Nathan Mensah scored a game-high 17 points on 4-for-4 shooting, including a 9-for-12 performance from the free-throw line. He added six rebounds and two blocked shots as 10 Aztecs contributed two points or more.

The Broncos have a week off before hosting Wyoming in a Mountain West game Saturday, Feb. 11. Tipoff is 6 p.m. at ExtraMile Arena, and the game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network, or listen on the radio on KBOI 670 AM or 93.1 FM.

Women’s basketball: Broncos pull out road win

Junior forwad Abby Muse posted 14 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots to propel the Boise State women’s basketball team to a 62-58 victory over Nevada on Thursday at Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nevada.

With her six blocks, Muse became the program’s all-time career blocks leader with 143, surpassing Stephanie Block, who collected 142 career blocks from 1996 to 2000.

Muse also sank six of her eight shot attempts to finish with her 17th career double-double.

“It feels crazy, which is super cliché to say. It makes this win even sweeter,” Muse said in a news release. “To come out on the road and get a win that we battled for and then to get this accomplishment on top of it, I couldn’t ask for a better night.”

The Broncos (11-13, 6-5 MW) got off to a slow start, trailing the Wolf Pack (8-14, 5-6 MW) 22-13 after the first quarter. Freshman guard Natalie Pasco sparked a second-quarter run, hitting 4-of-5 shots from the field, including a perfect 2-of-2 from deep. The freshman scored 10 points in the quarter as the two teams entered the locker room tied at 34.

Muse and junior guard Anna Ostlie combined for 13 third-quarter points as Boise State took a 51-46 lead into the final period. The Blue and Orange led 54-46 at the 8:33 mark of the fourth quarter, but the Wolf Pack cut the advantage down to 60-58 with 2:58 left in the game.

The two teams proceeded to hold each other scoreless for the next four possessions, setting up Nevada with a chance to tie the game with 36 seconds remaining. Boise State freshman Dani Bayes came up clutch defensively, stealing an entry pass and drawing a foul, going 1-of-2 from the line to stretch the lead to three. Nevada’s Alyssa Jimenez missed a contested 3-pointer with 8 seconds left, and junior point guard Mary Kay Naro sealed the game at the free-throw line for the Broncos.

Boise State travels to Fresno State on Saturday. Tipoff is 3 p.m. Mountain time, and the game will be broadcast on the Mountain West Network, or listen on the radio on KBOI 670 AM.


Degenhart 4-10 0-0 9, N.Smith 1-4 0-2 2, Agbo 2-7 5-5 9, M.Rice 7-15 2-2 16, Whiting 0-2 0-0 0, Kuzmanovic 2-7 3-6 8, Young 0-1 1-2 1, Sylla 1-3 1-2 3, Milner 2-3 0-0 4, NgaNga 0-0 0-0 0, B.Smith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-52 12-19 52.

K.Johnson 5-5 0-1 10, Mensah 4-4 9-12 17, Bradley 1-6 1-2 3, Butler 3-7 1-2 7, Trammell 2-7 0-0 4, Parrish 2-4 0-0 4, Seiko 3-7 0-0 9, LeDee 2-5 5-6 9, Arop 3-4 0-0 7, Saunders 1-2 0-0 2, Alger 0-0 0-0 0, Barnett 0-0 0-0 0, Ty.Broughton 0-0 0-0 0, D.Johnson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-51 16-23 72.

Halftime—San Diego St. 43-21. 3-Point Goals—Boise St. 2-18 (Kuzmanovic 1-3, Degenhart 1-4, Young 0-1, Whiting 0-2, Agbo 0-3, M.Rice 0-5), San Diego St. 4-18 (Seiko 3-7, Arop 1-1, Butler 0-1, LeDee 0-1, Parrish 0-1, Saunders 0-1, Trammell 0-2, Bradley 0-4). Rebounds—Boise St. 27 (N.Smith, Agbo 5), San Diego St. 31 (Mensah 6). Assists—Boise St. 8 (N.Smith, M.Rice, Whiting 2), San Diego St. 13 (Trammell 7). Total Fouls—Boise St. 21, San Diego St. 18.