Boise State’s Chandler Hutchison made a claim to being the best basketball player in the Mountain West on Wednesday night.
Nevada made its case as the conference’s best team.
With the Broncos (12-7, 5-3 Mountain West) trailing by three midway through the second half, D.J. Fenner and Marcus Marshall hit three straight 3-pointers to cap off a 16-2 run that helped the Wolf Pack cruise to a 76-57 win in front of a season-high 7,059 fans at Taco Bell Arena.
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“There was a period where we were really locked in on defense,” Hutchison said. “We were in it the whole game. I felt like we were right there. (Then) we kind of had some defensive mishaps, and they hit some tough shots. ... That’s devastating when that happens, when we’re trying to make a run and climb up a hill.”
The Wolf Pack (17-4, 6-2) move into sole possession of first place in the Mountain West, while the Broncos have lost three of their past four games, including back-to-back at home (New Mexico and Nevada) by a combined 30 points. It is the first time Boise State has lost consecutive home games since 2012.
“I thought our guys were geared up. They battled them on the boards. It’s a fine line with us,” Boise State head coach Leon Rice said. “Nevada has some great seniors, some guys that have been through a lot of battles, and that’s what they looked like tonight. We looked like the young team that kind of got a little bit rattled and missed some shots that we can make usually.”
Though Hutchison scored 15 of his team-high 23 in the second half, it was not enough to overcome Nevada’s trifecta of Marshall, Fenner and Cameron Oliver. Marshall and Fenner each scored 13 points in the second half, while Oliver dominated the first with 11 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots. The trio combined to score 56 points.
Nevada, which entered the game shooting a conference-best 38.9 percent from 3-point range, was 9-for-27 from deep. It is the most threes Boise State has allowed all season.
“It seemed like every time it would be three or five or eight (points), we’d miss a shot and boom, they’d go down and hit one,” Rice said. “Some of the shots (they made), I thought we did a pretty good job on. Some of them were contested ones. And that’s what good players do, they make contested ones.”
Each time the Broncos seemed to make a move, Marshall, Fenner or Oliver made a play to regain momentum on either end of the floor. The Broncos led for a total of just over four minutes. Nevada outrebounded Boise State 40-37 and outscored the Broncos 16-9 in second-chance points.
Outside of Hutchison, no Boise State player scored more than eight points. The Broncos shot 35.1 percent from the field and were 1-for-12 from 3-point range in the second half after making five in the first.
“We got good looks throughout the game,” redshirt sophomore David Wacker said. “They’re a really high-level defensive team, so I couldn’t get as many offensive rebounds. Holding us to one shot is always going to be difficult.”
Boise State begins a two-game road trip at Wyoming (14-7, 4-4) at 4 p.m. Saturday. The Broncos play at Colorado State (13-8, 5-3) at 7 p.m. Tuesday. After their seven-game win streak earlier in the year, the Broncos are aware that the next few games will be a huge test.
“It’s huge. That’s a Wyoming team we haven’t played yet,” Hutchison said. “They’re very good at what they do. It’s always tough to play down there. We have to get refocused and locked in.”
Boise State’s next home game is Feb. 4 against Utah State.
NOTES: Nevada’s 19-point victory is Boise State’s largest margin of defeat in a home game since a 24-point loss to Idaho in 2010. ... Nick Duncan scored six points, giving him 1,029 for his career. He moved up No. 23 on the Broncos’ all-time list. ... Nevada led 37-32 at halftime, the sixth time this season Boise State has trailed at the half. ... In addition to his 23 points, Hutchison added seven rebounds, a career-high five assists, a block and a steal. He led the Broncos in all five categories.
Nevada 76, Boise State 57
Oliver 6-16 4-4 17, Drew 1-5 0-0 2, Fenner 7-12 4-4 21, Marshall 7-17 0-0 18, Caroline 3-7 6-8 12, Carlson 0-0 0-0 0, Kyle 0-0 0-0 0, King 0-0 0-0 0, Ramsey 0-0 0-0 0, Hall 2-6 1-2 6, Cunningham 0-0 0-0 0, Tooley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-63 15-18 76.
BOISE ST. (12-7)
Wacker 1-2 1-2 3, Duncan 2-10 0-0 6, Jessup 2-6 2-2 8, Austin 2-9 1-2 5, Hutchison 9-18 5-6 23, Haney 2-6 0-0 4, Jorch 0-0 0-0 0, Dickinson 0-0 0-0 0, Hobbs 0-0 0-0 0, Reid 2-6 2-2 8. Totals 20-57 11-14 57.
Halftime—Nevada 37-32. 3-Point Goals—Nevada 9-27 (Marshall 4-10, Fenner 3-7, Hall 1-2, Oliver 1-6, Caroline 0-1, Drew 0-1), Boise St. 6-24 (Jessup 2-5, Reid 2-5, Duncan 2-9, Hutchison 0-2, Haney 0-3). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Nevada 36 (Oliver 15), Boise St. 34 (Hutchison 7). Assists—Nevada 14 (Drew 5), Boise St. 12 (Hutchison 5). Total Fouls—Nevada 13, Boise St. 16. A—7,059 (12,480).