Most basketball fans grew up watching head coach Jerry Tarkanian lead UNLV to four Final Four appearances, including a national championship in 1990. We lost Tarkanian on February 11 at the age of 84, and the Rebels honored their outstanding coach prior to the game tonight in Las Vegas with Boise State.
But in 2015, it is Boise State with 19 wins and one game out of first place in the Mountain West Conference following an improbable 53-48 win. It was the first Bronco win in Las Vegas in history. Earlier this season, Boise State also beat New Mexico in Albuquerque for the first time and Utah State in Logan for the first time.
Coach Leon Rice's team played without five players for the third consecutive game, yet managed the win. Boise State, normally an excellent three-point shooting team, shot a collective 1-18 for the game. The Broncos, who normally turn the ball over less than ten times for an entire game, had nine TO's in the first half. And yet, the Broncos prevailed for the ninth time in the last ten games.
Boise State won because they held the Rebels to 30% shooting (18-60), and they dominated the boards, 47-36. Derrick Marks paced the Broncos with 16 points, while James Webb III had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Boise State moved its record to 19-7 and is 9-4 in conference, while the Rebels slipped to 14-12 and 5-8.
The Broncos return home Saturday for a 1 p.m. tilt with Nevada.