The Boise State men’s basketball team joined rare company Wednesday night in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but it wasn’t the good kind.
With their 73-72 loss to New Mexico, the 2018-19 Broncos matched the 1980-81 squad for the most losses in program history, at 19. They also fell to 1-9 this season in games decided by three points or fewer or in overtime. Their six-game losing streak is the longest since BSU lost eight in a row during the 2011-12 campaign.
After New Mexico’s Carlton Bragg missed two free throws with 7.2 seconds left at Dreamstyle Arena, the Broncos got the rebound and moved the ball across halfcourt. Coach Leon Rice tried to call a timeout, but his players never saw him, and New Mexico was able to deflect the ball out of Alex Hobbs’ hands to seal the victory.
Justinian Jessup and Derrick Alston each scored 23 points for the Broncos (11-19, 6-11 MW). Jessup also contributed team highs for rebounds (6), assists (4) and steals (2) while playing all 40 minutes.
“I’ve been playing this game my whole life. It doesn’t go your way all the time,” Alston said in a postgame radio interview on 670 AM. “But I’m not going to quit. I’ve never quit on anything in my life.
“I know the table’s going to turn, whether it’s going to be next game or the tournament. We just have to keep fighting till the end for our seniors, because they deserve it. Our seniors have been so impactful to this program and this team.”
Wednesday’s loss guarantees the Broncos will finish either eighth or ninth in the Mountain West regular-season standings, meaning they will be in the 8-9 game in the first round of the conference tournament next Wednesday at noon Mountain time at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
The Broncos play their final home game — and honor seniors Zach Haney and David Wacker — against Air Force at 5 p.m. Saturday (AT&T SportsNet/ROOT) in Taco Bell Arena.
Note: Jessup made a season-high five 3-pointers against the Lobos to increase his career total to 222 and pass Jeff Elorriaga (221) for fifth place in program history.
Indoor track: Five Broncos headed to nationals
The Boise State women’s track and field team will send five athletes to the 2019 NCAA Indoor Track and Field National Championships this Friday and Saturday in Birmingham, Alabama.
Senior Alexis Fuller (mile), redshirt junior Allie Ostrander (3,000 and 5,000 meters) and sophomore Kristie Schoffield (800) received individual berths to nationals. They will be joined by freshmen MaLeigha Menegatti and Kelly Moodry, who are part of Boise State’s distance medley relay team along with Fuller, Ostrander and Schoffield.
The Broncos’ distance medley relay team is seeded third with a time of 10 minutes, 56.42 seconds, which is a Mountain West record. The Broncos have won four straight conference titles in the event.
Semifinals for the women’s mile (Fuller) are scheduled to begin at 4:35 p.m. MT Friday, followed by the semifinals of the women’s 800 (Schoffield) at 6:17 p.m., the final of the women’s 5,000 (Ostrander) at 7:07 p.m. and the final of the women’s distance medley at 7:47 p.m. Saturday’s events that could include Broncos are the final of the women’s mile (Fuller) at 3:10 p.m., the final of the women’s 800 (Schoffield) at 4:30 p.m. and the final of the women’s 3,000 (Ostrander) at 5:10 p.m.
The meet will be broadcast on ESPN3 beginning at 4:30 p.m. MT Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday.
Swimming: Senior qualifies for nationals
Boise State senior Abbey Sorensen has been invited to compete in the 200-yard backstroke at the 2019 NCAA Swimming and Diving National Championships held March 20-23 in Austin, Texas.
Sorensen is the two-time defending Mountain West champion in the 50-yard freestyle and 200 backstroke.
The native of Draper, Utah, qualified for nationals in the 200 backstroke based on her career-best time of 1:53.74. Sorensen’s time was an NCAA B standard and is ranked 37th overall nationally.
BOISE STATE (11-19)
JESSUP, Justinian 8-13 2-2 23; ALSTON, Derrick 8-16 5-5 23; HANEY, Zach 5-9 1-2 11; HOBBS, Alex 3-8 2-2 9; DEMBLEY, Pat 2-5 0-0 4; WACKER, David 1-3 0-0 2; HARWELL, Malek 0-0 0-0 0; WILLIAMS, RJ 0-1 0-0 0; DICKINSON, Marcus 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 27-57 10-11 72.
NEW MEXICO (13-16)
Corey Manigault 5-11 9-9 19; Vance Jackson 4-11 2-2 12; Keith McGee 4-8 0-0 11; Carlton Bragg 3-5 5-9 11; Anthony Mathis 2-4 0-0 6; Makuach Maluach 1-6 3-4 6; Dane Kuiper 2-7 0-0 6; Vladimir Pinchuk 1-1 0-0 2; Drue Drinnon 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-53 19-24 73.
Boise State................... 29 43 — 72
New Mexico.................... 41 32 — 73
3-point goals — Boise State 8-20 (JESSUP, Justinian 5-8; ALSTON, Derrick 2-6; HOBBS, Alex 1-3; DICKINSON, Marcus 0-1; DEMBLEY, Pat 0-2), New Mexico 10-26 (Keith McGee 3-6; Vance Jackson 2-7; Dane Kuiper 2-5; Anthony Mathis 2-4; Makuach Maluach 1-4). Fouled out — Boise State-WACKER, David; HANEY, Zach, New Mexico-None. Rebounds — Boise State 29 (JESSUP, Justinian 6), New Mexico 35 (Carlton Bragg 9). Assists — Boise State 12 (JESSUP, Justinian 4), New Mexico 17 (Drue Drinnon 4). Total fouls — Boise State 21, New Mexico 14. Technical fouls — None. A — 10,279.