Boise State rallies by New Mexico; ends in shoving match
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) Chandler Hutchison made a layup with 16 seconds remaining to put Boise State up for the first time in the second half and the Broncos beat New Mexico 73-71 on Tuesday night.
Hutchison finished with 23 points, including 15 in the second half, as Boise State (20-4, 10-2 Mountain West) came back from a 13-point deficit. Chris Sengfelder led the Broncos with 24 points.
”I think it was just that ability to just keep competing,” Broncos coach Leon Rice said. ”We were kind of trying to hang in there. We’ve got one of the best players in the league (Hutchison) and one of the best players on the west coast and he gives you a chance on any night if you can just keep it close. That’s what happened. Those plays he made down the stretch, he’s clutch.”
Anthony Mathis led the Lobos (12-13, 7-5) with 17, but his potential game-tying layup attempt at the buzzer rolled off the rim.
The ending of the game was marred by a near-melee with players from both teams pushing, shoving, shouting and finger-pointing after New Mexico forward Joe Furstinger’s unnecessary hard foul.
”It’s an unbelievable way to finish a game,” Lobos coach Paul Weir said. ”It obviously makes you sick in a lot of ways. And then obviously the way the game ended on top that makes it even worse.”
The loss ended the Lobos’ seven-game home winning streak.
New Mexico built a 40-29 halftime lead on the strength of a late 10-0 run sparked by consecutive 3-pointers from Chris McNeal and Mathis.
But the Broncos scored the game’s final eight points to steal the victory.
With the win, Boise State sweeps the season series from New Mexico and puts the Broncos in a virtual tie with Nevada atop the conference. The Wolfpack are at home Wednesday against UNLV.
New Mexico drops into a virtual fourth-place tie with Wyoming.
Boise State, the conference’s leading rebounding team, dominated the boards 41-26, including 14-3 on the offensive glass.
”It was really the rebounding that killed us,” Weir said. ”We just could not finish possessions. It gave them the confidence that anytime a shot went up, Sengfelder or Haney was going get an offensive rebound.”
Hutchison led the way with 12, while Sengfelder had eight, seven on the offensive end.
”Sengfelder was just amazing,” Rice said. ”He was just a beast on the glass. We missed some bunnies around the rim and he cleaned them all up for us.”
SEMI GREAT DANE
New Mexico wing Dane Kuiper, who came into the game having missed 17 consecutive 3-pointers and was 2 for 23 in the last four games, hit two 3s in the first half and had 10 points at the break. He finished with 11.
New Mexico plays at Air Force on Saturday.
Boise State plays at Utah State on Saturday.