The Boise State mens basketball team will have nearly its entire roster available for Wednesdays showdown with No. 25 New Mexico at Taco Bell Arena.
Leading scorer Derrick Marks, key reserve Mikey Thompson and backup big man Darrious Hamilton have been reinstated after serving a one-game suspension for violating team rules, the school announced Saturday.
Reserve center Kenny Buckner will serve a three-game suspension and is eligible to return for the Broncos game against Fresno State on Jan. 23. Buckner, too, was suspended for the game at Wyoming and will miss games versus New Mexico (Wednesday) and at Air Force (Jan. 19).
It was one of the hardest decisions Ive ever had to make, coach Leon Rice said after the Wyoming game. We have a young team and were building a program, so one game is not as important as the future of our program. We dont compromise on not doing it right.
Rice was unavailable for comment Saturday.
New Mexico (15-2, 2-0 Mountain West) crushed Fresno State 72-45 on Saturday. The Lobos, who should rise from their current spot in the poll, defeated No. 24 UNLV on Wednesday.
Boise State (13-2, 1-0 MW) is off to its best start since 1987-88, and the shorthanded Broncos outlasted previously undefeated Wyoming on Wednesday without the four suspended players. Junior Jeff Elorriaga made a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired in the 63-61 victory in Laramie, Wyo.
Still, the return of Marks and Thompson, in particular, will help the Broncos, who used just seven players against Wyoming. Marks, a 6-foot-3, sophomore, leads the team in scoring (16.3 points per game) and assists (4.0 per game). Marks has attempted 88 free throws, by far the most on the team. Boise State attempted a season-low six free throw attempts against Wyoming.
Thompson, a 6-foot-3 redshirt freshman, is the teams top player off the bench. He is averaging 8.7 points per game.
Without Buckner, the teams top big man off the bench, the 6-foot-8 Hamiltons role could expand. The redshirt freshman is averaging 5.3 minutes per game. Walk-on sophomore Jake Ness played 17 minutes against Wyoming without Buckner or Hamilton available.
The Broncos have sold more than 6,000 tickets for Wednesdays game against New Mexico.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444