UNLV (17-9) at Boise State (17-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 22, 8:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Taco Bell Arena (12,480) -- Boise, Idaho. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: UNLV 10-6, BSU 11-3. Away Record: UNLV 5-3, BSU 4-5. Neutral Record: UNLV 2-0, BSU 2-1. Conference Record: UNLV 8-5, BSU 7-6. Series Record: UNLV leads, 6-2.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams with identical records get together for a Mountain West Conference battle at Taco Bell Arena, as the Boise State Broncos host the UNLV Runnin' Rebels on Saturday.
Boise State, which enters the weekend in fifth place in the standings, has won back-to-back decisions after losing three in a row. The latest triumph came earlier this week at Colorado State where the team delivered an 84-72 win versus the Rams. The outcome drew BSU to within a game of .500 in true road dates in 2013-14.
As for the Runnin' Rebels, tied with Wyoming for third place in the MWC with a record of 8-5, they were hoping to pull off a season sweep of New Mexico a few nights back, having beaten the Lobos on the road in the middle of January, but it just wasn't meant to be. UNLV dropped to 10-6 at home and scored just 56 points as it bowed by a dozen in Sin City Wednesday night. The defeat snapped a brief two-game win streak overall as well.
Trailing by double digits on multiple occasions, the Runnin' Rebels fought back to grab a 73-69 win over Boise State in the first meeting of the season earlier this month, closing the contest on a 17-2 run at the Thomas & Mack Center. With that victory UNLV moved to 6-2 in the all-time series against Boise State.
The Runnin' Rebels experienced an awful shooting performance against New Mexico earlier this week as they converted a mere 31.7 percent from the floor and a dismal 3-of-21 behind the 3-point line in their double-digit loss at home. Khem Birch produced 11 points and a game-high 12 rebounds and Roscoe Smith also logged a double-double with his 10 points and 10 boards, yet the hosts were still beaten on the glass, 44-39. Bryce Dejean-Jones pitched in with 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting from the field.
In conference games this season the Rebels have seen their scoring output dip by a bout five points per outing compared to the season overall, coming in at 65.8 ppg, but at least the defense has stepped up to limit the competition to just 63.7 ppg at the same time. Dejean-Jones heads a list of four double-digit scorers with his 14.5 ppg, although he has connected on a mere 9-of-42 (.214) beyond the arc and now the group overall is hitting perimeter attempts at just 27.0 percent.
Against a more defensive-minded opponent in Colorado State, the Broncos picked up the pace on offense at Moby Arena, shooting 62.5 percent from the floor in the first half and 54.7 percent for the game. Even more impressive was the team's efforts out on the perimeter where they converted 13-of-22 shots, compared to 6-of-19 for the hosts. Anthony Drmic rattled off 19 points, five rebounds and five assists, followed by backup Thomas Bropleh with 18 points and Derrick Marks 13, while Ryan Watkins came up a point shy of a double- double as he tallied a game-high 12 rebounds.
Drmic, the leading scorer for Boise State in each of the last three games, is putting up 17.3 ppg on the season overall as he is tied with Jeff Elorriaga with 53 3-pointers after 26 contests. Derrick Marks checks in with 15.7 ppg and is first with both 74 assists and 44 steals, although his perimeter accuracy (.283) could use a boost. One of only a handful of players in the nation who is averaging a double-double this late in the season, Watkins is responsible for 10.9 points and 10.7 rebounds per outing.
Seeing as how the Rebels have had some difficulty getting their offense into gear recently, if Boise State intends on dictating the pace of this meeting it could be a long night for the visitors.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Boise State 79, UNLV 66
02/22 10:51:51 ET