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Boise State beats UNLV 67-61 to advance in Mountain West Conference Tournament

The game marks the Broncos' first win in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament since 2015.
Credit: Isaac Brekken/AP
UNLV's Amauri Hardy (3) shoots as Boise State's Derrick Alston (21) and Abu Kigab (24) defend during the second half of a Mountain West Conference tournament NCAA college basketball game Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Las Vegas. Boise State defeated UNLV 67-61. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

LAS VEGAS — RJ Williams had 23 points and 15 rebounds as Boise State topped UNLV 67-61 in the Mountain West Conference Tournament quarterfinals.

The Broncos went up by double digits in the second half, before the Runnin' Rebels fought their way back to within four points.

Then Justian Jessup buried a three-pointer, and Boise State held from there. Jessup finished with 19 points, cracking the 15-point mark for the 12th straight game.

Bryce Hamilton led UNLV with 24 points and six rebounds.

The game marks the Broncos' first win in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament since 2015.

Coach Leon Rice said after the game that he was proud of his team for how they responded after last week's 76-66 loss at UNLV.

"We came in here last week and they handed us our hats," Rice said after Thursday's win. "And we responded the right way, like these guys always do. They had to come back down here and play the home team.

"So I was really proud of our guys the way they approached it," he added.

Credit: Isaac Brekken/AP
The Boise State bench reacts during the second half of a Mountain West Conference tournament NCAA college basketball game against UNLV Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Las Vegas. Boise State defeated UNLV 67-61. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

Junior guard Derrick Alston Jr, who finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds, said the team made the right adjustments between games.

"Obviously they kind of torched us in the paint last game and we knew that was gonna be a big factor," Alston said.  "Just trusting the game plan, trusting each other and just having faith in each other, knowing we can get it done."

The Broncos will face a tough test on Friday when they meet No. 5 San Diego State in the semifinals. The Aztecs held off Air Force 73-60 in Thursday's quarterfinal.

The Boise State-San Diego State matchup tips off Friday at 7 p.m. Mountain Time. It will be televised live on CBS Sports Network.

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