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Broncos snap two-game skid; improves to 8-0 at home this season

Boise State improved to 11-3 in conference play this season and sit just half a game behind first-place Utah State.
Credit: Boise State Athletics
Boise State junior forward Emmanuel Akot scored a team-high 16 points in a 78-66 victory over UNLV on Thursday night.

BOISE -- The Boise State men's basketball team snapped a season-long two-game losing streak with a 78-66 victory over UNLV on Thursday.

Back at home for the first time since in almost three weeks, the Broncos shot 50.0% from the floor as a team and improved to 8-0 at ExtraMile Arena this season.

"It felt like we haven't played at home in months," said senior forward Abu Kigab. "It just felt great coming out here and getting a win. It was really good for our team and we just have to keep getting better at this point of the season

“That was a big one tonight, big win tonight," said head coach Leon Rice. "February wins and later are hard to get."

After falling behind 19-13 early on, the Broncos used a 20-4 run and eventually built a 12-point halftime advantage. During that stretch, juniors Mladen Armus and Emmanuel Akot combined with Kigab to scored all 20 points.

“When guys are making simple plays, the game is very easy," said Kigab. "Everybody's making simple plays and the coaches did a great job of really implementing drills and actions in practice that got us to make the simple plays and credit goes to them. They did a hell of a job preparing us for this game. I'm very excited for the next game and I'm very proud of our team and how we played today. But we can never be satisfied and we’ve just got to keep getting better.”

Kigab, who finished with 14 points and six rebounds, was one of three Broncos to finish in double-figures. Armus contributed with 13 points and eight rebounds, while junior guard Emmanuel Akot had one of his most efficient games as a Bronco. He played 31 minutes off the bench and scored a team-high 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting.

“I’ve had an up and down season," said Akot. "My teammates and my coaches have done a great job giving me confidence. ‘Emman, shoot the ball with more confidence. Emman, it's going to go in man, keep shooting, keep shooting.’ That just gives me the most confidence in the world to go perform. So I have to give thanks to my coaches and my teammates.”

In the end, Boise State clinched their 12th double-digit victory of the season, tied for 12th most in the NCAA. They also pulled within a half-game of Utah State for first-place in the Mountain West standings. Following one more meeting with UNLV on Saturday, the Broncos will welcome the Aggies to town for a monumental two-game series next week.

"You’ve got to celebrate [wins], you’ve got to enjoy them," said Rice, "and then we’ve got to respond quickly because now all of a sudden, you've [got] one day to get ready and regroup and play this team again.”

"We know we have a challenge ahead of us," added Akot, "but we're a group that's ready for this challenge and we're up for this challenge."