LAS VEGAS - Ryan Watkins scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as No. 6 seed Boise State defeated third-seeded Nevada 75-62 in a Mountain West Conference tournament quarterfinal Thursday night.
Boise State (21-12) will play No. 2 seed New Mexico (25-6) in the semifinals on Friday. It is the first time the Broncos have advanced to the semifinals of the MW Championship. They had been eliminated in the quarterfinals each of their first two seasons in the conference.
Boise State raced out to a 26-15 lead in the first 11 minutes, but went cold from the field for the rest of the first half. The Broncos missed their last nine shots of the half and allowed Nevada to go on a 17-6 run and take a lead. Boise State made enough free throws to tie the game before halftime at 32.
Nevada scored the first basket of the second half and looked to take control of the game with a three-on-one fast break. Two Wolf Pack players soared toward the alley-oop pass, keeping either one from finishing the opportunity. Boise State responded immediately with a Jeff Elorriaga three-pointer on the other end to take the lead back at 35-34.
Elorriaga's triple was followed by a three-pointer from Derrick Marks, the start of a 15-0 run as Boise State took a 47-34 lead with 15:55 remaining.
The Wolf Pack came back to apparently tie the game 56-56 when Michael Perez scored at 6:00. Thomas Bropleh answered with a three-pointer and gave the Broncos a lead they would not surrender. It was later determined that a previous Nevada basket was a three-pointer not a two-point field goal, meaning the Wolf Pack had 57 points. Though the video-review correction did not come until Boise State had 61 points, meaning the Bronco lead went from five to four with 2:30 left before Marks came out of the break to make two free throws.
Those were the first of 14 free throws Boise State made in the final 150 seconds of the game. The Broncos were 14-of-17 in that span and finished the game 28-of-35.
Derrick Marks scored 16 points, including 11-of-11 shooting from the line. It is tied for the third-best individual free throw performance in MW Championship history. Anthony Drmic added 17 points for the Broncos.
Deonte Burton scored 22 points and Cole Huff chipped in 17 to lead Nevada (15-17).