LAS VEGAS — Ryan Watkins scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as No. 6 seed Boise State defeated third-seeded Nevada 75-62 in a Mountain West Conference tournament quarterfinal Thursday night.
Boise State (21-12) will play No. 2 seed New Mexico (25-6) in the semifinals on today.
Knotted at 32 at the break, Boise State opened the second half with a 15-2 run to take a 47-34 lead with 15:55 remaining. The Wolf Pack came back to take a one-point lead, 57-56 when Michael Perez scored with 6 minutes to play. Thomas Bropleh answered with a three, Ryan Watkins scored and the Broncos made four free throws to stretch their lead to 65-57, sparking a 19-5 run to cap the scoring.
Derrick Marks scored 16 points, including 11-of-11 shooting from the line. Anthony Drmic added 17 points for the Broncos.
Deonte Burton scored 22 points and Cole Huff chipped in 17 to lead Nevada (15-17).
“I thought we got behind the first half. Fought back. Had some momentum going into the halftime,” Nevada coach David Carter said. “I thought the second half they shot the ball very well. Defense wasn’t very good to start the half. They got a lead by 10 or 12. We tried to fight back. We came up short.”
The loss brought to an end the brilliant career of Burton, who leaves as the No. 2 scorer behind Nick Fazekas.
“It hurts,” Burton said. “But I can’t hang my head. We had a good run all season. I mean, it hurts a lot that we lost and we don’t have anymore games left and we’re done. But I can’t hang my head.
“I think this one hurts a little bit more (than La. Tech two years ago) because then I was a sophomore. I had next year to look at. Now I’m a senior and we’re done, so no more college basketball for me.”
NOTES: Nevada is 0-2 all-time in the Mountain West tournament ...This is the first time that Boise State has advanced to the semifinals. No. 6 seeds are 2-6 in MW semifinals ...Burton made his 130th consecutive start. He reached double figures for the 103rd time in his career and the 31st time this season ... Huff scored in double figures for the 21st time this season and 11th time in the last 12 games ... BSU’s Ryan Watkins tallied his 23rd double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Watkins has 804 rebounds for his career.