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Broncos rally late to beat the Lobos in the Pit

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NCAA Basketball: UNLV at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

FINAL BSU 73 UNM 71

Despite being down early, the Broncos did the important things well, like making their free throws, getting rebounds and getting points in the paint. UNM started well, too, which wasn’t surprising. The Broncos did a good job of not letting the Lobos run away with it either. They answered when needed. They also kept fouls to a minimum, which was not the case for UNM.

As the half went on, the Broncos missed more than an ideal amount of field goals. Fortunately, UNM wasn’t shooting great either. It is apparent early, though, that this game would be a lot closer than the 90-62 result in Boise at the beginning of the year.

Close to 10 minutes left, the Broncos called a time out to slow a run by UNM, who built a 19-14 lead. Again, nothing that couldn’t be overcome, but no sense it letting it get out of hand early. Out the timeout, the Broncos seemed refocusing, closing the gap again.

With 4 minutes left, UNM had pulled away, leading 34-25, on back-to-back. Shortly thereafter, Williams got a technical in front of the bench. I assume he said something he probably shouldn’t have. They closed out the half on the wrong end of a 14-4 scoring series and a 29-40 score. They finished 11-28 (39.3) from the field, which is not going to win you games. They were an abyssmal 1-7 (14.3%) from 3, while UNM was 16-29 (55.2%) from the field and 6-14 (42.9%) from 3. That’s pretty dang good. Both teams shot 100% from the line, 6-6 for the Broncos and 2-2 for the Lobos. UNM has 11 points off of 6 Bronco turnovers to the Broncos 2 points off of 4 Lobo turnovers.

The Broncos started the second half much better than the first, closing within 6 points with 15:23 left. Unfortunately Williams picked up his 4th foul early on in the 2nd half which put him on the bench for most of the second half. Hutchison picked up his 3rd shortly thereafter. With close tot 10 left, the Lobos extended their lead to 10, helped by shooting 4-6 from 3, all at the least opportune time for the Broncos. The Broncos continued to shoot poorly in the second half, sitting at 40% with 10 to go. Media timeout with 8:16 continues to look bad for the Broncos, trailing 49-62, again, helped by 5-7 shooting from 3 in the half by the Lobos. Seemingly every basket made by the Broncos, the Lobos had an answer on the other end.

Hutchison came to life late in the second half, rattling off 7 points and pulling the Broncos within 6. One of the UNM players fouled out. There was a definite momentum shift. Williams fouled out with 3 minutes left, largely leaving Sengfelder and Hutchison to handle business.

The final minute was the biggest minute of the game. Hutch brought the Broncos back from the Pit of Despair with a couple of steals and crucial baskets. Jessup brought down a key rebound and sunk a free throw, his only points of the game. Leading just 2:35 of the game compared to 36:28 for the Lobos, the Broncos fought back just enough to bring home a win.

Sengfelder finished with a team-high 24 points while Hutch had a double double (23 points, 12 assists). The next closest Bronco was Haney with 8 points. Another key stat was the 41-26 rebound differential. The Broncos were also 3-5 from 3 in the second half, improving their game total to 4-12 (33.3%). The win moves the Broncos to 20-4, securing their 6th-straight 20 win season.

Next up for the Broncos is a trip to Utah State (13-11, 6-5 conference) on Saturday at 7pm GO BRONCOS!