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September 18, 2014

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Mountain West Tournament:

Blog: San Diego State holds off furious Boise State rally to advance

SDSU joins UNLV, Colorado State and New Mexico in semifinals

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

San Diego State forward DeShawn Stephens is fouled by Boise State guard Thomas Bropleh during their Mountain West Conference Tournament game Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Updated Wednesday, March 13, 2013 | 11:26 p.m.

MWC Tournament: New Mexico vs. Wyoming

New Mexico guard Kendall Williams shoots after getting tripped up by Wyoming during their Mountain West Conference Tournament game Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at the Thomas & Mack. Launch slideshow »

Boise State tried valiantly to rally from a 13-point deficit, but the Broncos rally fell short, and Jamaal Franklin was there to put an exclamation point on it.

Franklin's dunk with 58 seconds remaining was a fitting way to close out San Diego State's 73-67 victory over Boise State in the final quarterfinal of the Mountain West Conference Tournament. Franklin's slam gave the Aztecs a seven-point lead.

The Aztecs (22-9) will play New Mexico 6:30 p.m. Friday in the first semifinal.

Franklin finished with 19 points, while Chase Tapley also had 17 for San Diego State.

Anthony Drmic led all scorers with 20 points for Boise State, who will now wait until Sunday to learn if it is worthy of an NCAA Tournament bid.

San Diego State 55, Boise State 53

3:54 remaining in the second half

There will be a made dash to the finish line for this one. Boise State and San Diego State are engaged in a tight battle that saw the Broncos battle back from down 13.

Derrick Marks and Anthony Drmic have been vital in helping the Broncos come back and make this into a game. The duo has combined for 25 points.

Jamaal Franklin has 13, while Chase Tapley has 15 to lead the Aztecs.

San Diego State 49, Boise State 48

8:29 remaining in the second half

Derrick Marks has found his stroke, and it couldn't come at a better time. He has put up 10 points in a flash, including a pair of 3-pointers to pull Boise State within one. Marks started the game 1-for-13, and now has hit back-to-back 3s.

San Diego State, meanwhile, is going through on of those stretches where it cannot buy a field. The Aztecs have gone three minutes without a field goal.

The final eight minutes will be interesting.

San Diego State 49, Boise State 42

10:15 remaining in the second half

Chase Tapley loves playing in the Thomas & Mack Center. He has 10 points this half, and has 15 for the game.

That said, even with all of Boise State's offensive struggles, the Aztecs haven't led by more than 13 in the game. The lead is down to seven and Boise State has some momentum.

Derrick Marks scored two points, but they came on a pair of free throws, so he's still without a field goal.

San Diego State 42, Boise State 32

15:04 remaining in the second half

At some point, Derrick Marks will hit a basket. He's 0-for-12 from the floor. The question is, when he does, will it spark a fire that Boise State so desperately needs on the offensive end?

The Broncos are treading water on the offensive end. Possessions void of flow and execution, allowing San Diego State to comfortably sustain its lead between six to 12 points.

Boise State desperately needs Marks to get going.

Adding to the problem is San Diego State is flashes glimpses of the team that many picked to win the conference this season. Chase Tapley is hitting 3s. Jamaal Franklin is doing Jamaal Franklin things. Xavier Thames is running the show along with Winston Shepard.

All of this could lead to an interesting battle between New Mexico and San Diego State on Friday.

Unless Marks and Boise State have something to say about it.

San Diego State 33, Boise State 26

Halftime

Jamaal Franklin is doing work. He has 11 points for San Diego State on 3-for-5 shooting.

Meanwhile, Boise State is struggling to get going consistently on the offensive end. The Broncos went eight minutes without a field goal, allowing San Diego State to extend its lead, which was 11 at one point.

Derrick Marks is 0-for-9 from the floor. Boise State shot 32 percent from the floor in the first half.

Anthony Drmic leads Boise State with seven points.

San Diego State 27, Boise State 19

3:59 left in the first half

Are the Aztecs going to close this half out strong? Jamaal Franklin drilled a 3-pointer, bringing his total to 10 for the game. Just moments before Chase Tapley hit a 3-pointer of his own to help San Diego State go on a quick 6-0 spurt to up its lead eight with less than four minutes to play in the first half.

Derrick Marks continues to struggle, as he's 0-for-8 from the field, but the Broncos aren't doing so well on offense. They're 6-for-22 from the field and 1-for-6 from 3.

Boise State also hasn't hit a field goal since the 9:59 mark of the first half.

San Diego State 19, Boise State 15

7:11 left in the first half

Derrick Marks is having a rough go of things in this game against San Diego State. He's 0-for-7 from the field.

The Broncos, however, have been able to get by without his offense, trailing the Aztecs by just four points.

San Diego State has had a pretty balanced effort with a bulk of its points coming from Jamaal Franklin. Franklin has seven points, while Xavier Thames has five and J.J. O'Brien has four.

Ryan Watkins leads Boise State with four points.

San Diego State is shooting 38.9 percent from the floor, while Boise State is shooting 30 percent.

San Diego State 7, Boise State 5

15:55 left in the first half

An entertaining first four minutes between the two teams, and both are finding its offensive rhythm.

The question is what team will make a run over the next four to eight minutes. Which team will make a good run to distinguish itself from the other?

In bracket news, ESPN's Joe Lunardi said if Boise State loses this game, he will likely be dropping Boise State out of the field of 68.

Pre-Game: Boise State vs. San DIego State

Boise State and San Diego State will play in the final game of the night with the right to play New Mexico on Friday on the line.

The two teams met just four days ago in Boise, Idaho, where the Broncos emerged with a 69-65 victory.

The Aztecs are looking to win their fifth Mountain West Conference Tournament title, while extending their streak of tournament finals to five.

While San Diego State is likely to make the field of 68, Boise State remains firmly on the bubble, though, beating San Diego State on Saturday did plenty to help its chances.

Another win against San Diego State would likely help Boise State's case for an NCAA Tournament berth.

Tale of the Tape

San Diego State starters

F — DeShawn Stephens, 6-8, Sr., 6 ppg, 5 rpg, 59% fg

F — J.J. O'Brien, 6-7, Jr., 8 ppg, 5 rpg, 54% fg

G — Jamaal Franklin, 6-5, Jr., 17 ppg, 9 rpg, 3 apg, 41% fg

G — Chase Tapley, 6-3, Sr., 13 ppg, 3 apg, 38% 3pfg, 79% ft

G — Xavier Thames, 6-3, Jr., 9 ppg, 2 apg, 82% ft

Boise State starters

F — Ryan Watkins, 6-9, Jr.,8 ppg, 7 rpg, 57% fg

G/F — Anthony Drmic, 6-6, So., 17 ppg, 5 rpg, 2 apg 83% ft

G — Derrick Marks, 6-3, So., 16 ppg, 4 rpg, 4 apg, 49% fg, 45% 3pfg

G — Jeff Elorriaga, 6-2, Jr., 10 ppg, 3 rpg, 2 apg, 42% 3pfg

G — Igor Hadziomerovic, 6-4, So., 5 ppg, 3 rpg, 2 apg

New Mexico coasts into the semifinals with a victory over Wyoming

New Mexico cruised into the semifinals with a 59-46 victory over the Wyoming Cowboys in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Conference Tournament.

The Lobos (27-5) led wire to wire, and were led by Tony Snell. Snell hit his first four shots from the field, en route to 15 points.

Wyoming got within two possessions on a handful of occasions, but were unable to get over the hump to really threaten the top seeded Lobos.

New Mexico awaits the winner of Boise State-San Diego State match-up.

Tip off for the first semifinal is set for 6:30 p.m. Friday, which will then be followed by UNLV vs. Colorado State in the nightcap.

Cameron Bairstow was the other Lobo player in double figures with 14. He also pulled down eight rebounds.

MWC Tournament: San Diego State vs. Boise State

San Diego State guard Jamaal Franklin dunks on Boise State during their Mountain West Conference Tournament game Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at the Thomas & Mack Center. SDSU won the game 73-67 and will face New Mexico on Friday. Launch slideshow »

Larry Nance Jr. and Derrious GIlmore paced Wyoming with 14 points apiece. The Cowboys (19-13) pulled down 12 offensive rebounds in the losing effort.

New Mexico 54, Wyoming 42

3:29 left to go in the second half

New Mexico is on a 6-0 run to build a 12-point advantage on the Cowboys.

Wyoming picked a bad time to go on a scoring drought. The Cowboys have not scored a field goal since 7:46 mark of the second half.

Tony Snell leads New Mexico with 14 points, while Cameron Bairstow had 11.

New Mexico 48, Wyoming 42

7:21 left to go in the second half

Leonard Washington has finally fouled out of the game despite playing with fire for most of the second half.

While Washington hasn't been quite the player the Cowboys needed him to be against New Mexico, his presence will surely be missed down low, and this might be the time when New Mexico, finally blows this thing out of the water.

Washington finished with six points and six rebounds.

The Lobos had built the lead back to 11, but a quick 5-0 run has essentially brought Wyoming back into the game, and now the Cowboys will have to do it without their best player.

New Mexico 40, Wyoming 35

11:58 left to go in the second half

Defensively, New Mexico is doing a lot of good things. The Lobos are finding stop Wyoming's offense, but New Mexico is struggling to string together a offensive possessions to run away from the Cowboys.

Larry Nance Jr. has scored six of his 12 points in the second half to keep the Cowboys somewhat in this game.

Like many of the games inside the Thomas & Mack Center today, foul trouble will be vital. Alex Kirk, New Mexico's star post player, and Leonard Washington, Wyoming's best player, both have four fouls apiece, meaning their aggressive play might be taken down a notch.

Wyoming needs to go on another run here, if it is going to make a serious challenge to New Mexico.

New Mexico 36, Wyoming 32

15:24 left to go in the second half

There was talk on press row that the 10-point lead New Mexico had was like a 15-, 20-point lead given the way Wyoming was playing.

Well things have gotten interesting. The Cowboys have cut the lead down to four, and they will have a chance to bring it back down to do out of the 16-minute media timeout.

Tony Snell, who still leads the team in scoring with 11, has missed his last five shots

Could Wyoming build some momentum and make some of the 5,000 New Mexico fans nervous? Let's see.

New Mexico 34, Wyoming 24

Halftime

New Mexico gave its fans plenty to cheer about after a strong first half.

The Lobos built a double-digit lead thanks to a suffocating defense and offensive execution.

That said, things could have been a lot worse for Wyoming, the Lobos' opposition.

Leonard Washington, the Cowboys' best player, picked up his third foul at the 7:27 mark, only sat for a few moments before returning to the game when his head coach Larry Shyatt probably sensed the game was going to get away from his team had Washington kept sitting.

Wyoming fans must have been holding their breath every time a player got near Washington, who was playing with three fouls. Miraculously, Washington managed to play five minutes without picking up a fourth foul.

The Cowboys are only down 10, but that 10 could seem like an eternity especially if the Cowboys go on another stagnant offensive stretch.

Tony Snell leads the Lobos with 11 points, but has missed his last four shots from the field.

Derrious Gilmore leads the Cowboys with 11 points.

New Mexico 29, Wyoming 20

3:26 left in the first half

After New Mexico scored on a fastbreak, Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt called a timeout and put in Leonard Washington, who was sitting with three fouls.

There's an obvious risk of playing a guy with three fouls in the first half, but Shyatt must have figured that he has to play Washington to have any semblance of a chance of even getting back into this game.

That said, the Lobos are still playing well and are seemingly going to cruise into the semifinal, pending some catastrophic collapse.

New Mexico 25, Wyoming 18

7:27 left in the first half

Tony Snell is having a monster start to his Mountain West Conference Tournament.

The lanky guard from Riverside, Calif., hit his first four shots (two 3s) from the floor, and has 11 points to lead New Mexico, who is trying to pull away from Wyoming.

The Lobos have opened up a seven-point lead on the Cowboys who went almost five minutes without a field goal before Derrious Gilmore drained a 3-pointer.

Wyoming's Leonard Washington picked up his third foul of the first half at the 7:27 mark, meaning he will likely sit for the remainder of the first half.

This could be the time when New Mexico really blows this thing wide open.

New Mexico 19, Wyoming 15

11:12 left in the first half

New Mexico has come out of the gates white hot. The Lobos hit seven of their first eight shots, led by Tony Snell's 3-for-3 showing.

The silver lining for Wyoming is amazingly, it's only down four despite seeing its opponent hit 77.8 percent from the floor.

The way the Cowboys are staying in this game is through offensive rebounds. Wyoming has grabbed four offensive rebounds, leading to five second-chance points.

New Mexico 10, Wyoming 6

15:39 left in the first half

From the way it sounds Steve Alford doesn't have too much to worry about when it comes to home court advantages in the conference tournament. A strong contingent of New Mexico fans have packed into the Thomas & Mack Center.

Early estimations from the always accurate eye test leads me to believe there are close to 5,000 Lobo fans in here and they're all active.

On the court, New Mexico is giving the raucous crowd something to cheer about.

The Lobos have brought the crowd to its feet, hitting three of its first four shots.

Pre-Game: New Mexico vs. Wyoming

New Mexico and Wyoming are warming up to kick off the evening session of quarterfinal games at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Wyoming, which defeated UNR on Tuesday to advance in the tournament, is looking to upset the tournaments No. 1 seed.

New Mexico swept the season series with Wyoming with the most recent victory coming on March 2 in The Pit. The Lobos lost in their last outing, an 89-88 defeat to Air Force

Wyoming's 85-81 victory on Tuesday snapped a five-game losing streak for the Cowboys, who have struggled mightily since conference play began.

Tale of the Tape

New Mexico starters

F — Cameron Bairstow, 6-9, Jr., 9.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg., 47% fg, 73% ft

F — Alex Kirk, 7-0, So., 12 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 50% fg, 71% ft

G — Tony Snell, 6-7, Jr., 12 ppg, 42% fg, 85% ft

G — Kendall Williams, 6-4, Jr., 14 ppg, 5 apg, 42% fg, 78% ft

G — Hugh Greenwood, 6-3, So., 7 ppg, 5 rpg., 42% fg

Wyoming starters

F — Leonard Washington, 6-7, Sr., 13 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 49% fg

F — Larry Nance Jr., 6-8, So., 10 ppg, 7 rpg, 52% fg

G — Derrious Gilmore, 5-10, Sr., 12 ppg, 78% ft,

G — Riley Grabau, 6-2, So., 6 ppg, 72% ft

G — Josh Adams, 6-2, Fr., 6 ppg, 64% ft

Delos' prediction: New Mexico 73, Wyoming 60

Eikmeier's trey sends Colorado State into semifinals with 67-61 win over Fresno State

Wes Eikmeier hit a 3-pointer with 1:05 remaining, helping Colorado State to a 67-61 victory over a Fresno State in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Conference Tournament. With the win, the Rams advance to the semifinals, where they will face UNLV.

Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Friday.

Eikmeier, who started the game 0-for-6, finished with 18 points to lead the Rams. He went 4-for-7 in the second half, but no shot was bigger than the 3-pointer he hit with 65 seconds remaining.

MWC Tournament: CSU vs. Fresno St.

Fresno State guard Tyler Johnson grabs a rebound from Colorado State forward Pierce Hornung during their Mountain West Conference Tournament game Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at the Thomas & Mack. Launch slideshow »

Eikmeier's trey pushed Colorado State's lead back to six, but Fresno State, as it did all game long, continued to fight. The Bulldogs cut the lead two after a Marvelle Harris converted a traditional three-point play.

After failing to secure the steal, the Bulldogs fouled Eikmeier, who drained both of his foul shots to ice the game for the Rams.

Eikmeier was one of three players to score double figures. Greg Smith added 11 for Colorado State, while Gerson Santo added 10.

Fresno State had four players score in double figures, led by Tyler Johnson's 14 points on 6-for-12 shooting. Jerry Brown and Harris each had 12, while Allen Huddleston chipped in with 11.

Per the trend of a Colorado State game, the Rams outrebounded the Bulldogs 33-28.

UNLV and Colorado State split the season series with the home team winning each time. The Runnin' Rebels earned a trip to the semifinals with 72-56 over Air Force in an earlier contest.

Colorado State 55, Fresno State 49

3:46 left in the second half

Click to enlarge photo

Colorado State guard Jon Octeus drives past Fresno State guard Allen Huddleston during their Mountain West Conference Tournament game Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at the Thomas & Mack. CSU won the game 67-61 and will face UNLV on Friday.

It will be a mad dash to the finish line in the second quarterfinal of the Mountain West Conference tournament.

Fresno State refuses to go away, despite seeing the Rams build a nine-point lead.

After hitting 70 percent of its shots in the first 12 minutes, Colorado State has really cooled off. The Rams have gone 1-for-7 since the 7:51 mark, allowing the Bulldogs to get back into the contest.

Fresno State's Kevin Foster fouled out of the game at the 6:24 mark. He finished with four points and two rebounds.

Greg Smith and Colton Iverson are back on the floor for Colorado State. Each has four fouls.

Colorado State 51, Fresno State 46

7:19 left in the second half

Daniel Bejarano drained back-to-back 3-pointers, pushing the Colorado State lead to seven. The two 3s gave Colorado State its largest lead of the contest (seven), and forced Fresno State to burn a timeout.

Unfortunately for Colorado State, both Greg Smith and Colton Iverson picked up their fourth fouls of the game, and had to come out of the game.

Colorado State 41, Fresno State 39

11:48 left in the second half

Colorado State outscored Fresno State 13-10 to start the half, grabbing a two-point lead.

Colton Iverson has been big for the Rams in the second half, scoring eight of the team's 13 points.

Foul trouble might become a factor late in this game. The Bulldogs have two players with four fouls (Braeden Anderson and Kevin Foster) and one with three (Allen Huddleston). The Rams, on the other hand, have three players with three fouls (Iverson, Greg Smith and Pierce Hornung).

Colorado State 37, Fresno State 36

15:33 left in the second half

Fresno State's Tyler Johnson and Colorado State's Wes Eikmeier put on a show out of the halftime intermission. Johnson scored the Bulldogs' first seven points after halftime, while Eikmeier scored five of his seven points early on.

Seeing the ball drop through the net must have been a nice sight for Eikmeier as he missed his first six shots from the floor, before finally making his first.

There have been 12 lead changes through the first 25 minutes of the game.

Fresno State 29, Colorado State 26

Halftime

I hinted that Fresno State was coming into this game with a little bit of momentum. Think about it, how many teams go into the Thomas & Mack Center and beat UNLV straight up on Senior Day?

Thanks to high-energy first half performance, the Bulldogs find themselves just 20 minutes away from moving on in the Mountain West Tournament, and a rematch with UNLV.

All eight players that have seen the court for Fresno State have scored to give it a three-point lead at the half. The Bulldogs are taking care of the ball (three turnovers) and are putting in work on the rebounding front (15 rebounds with four offensive). The Bulldogs shot 39 percent from the floor with a 50-percent clip from 3-point land.

Jerry Brown leads Fresno State with eight points on 3-of-4 shooting. He also has three rebounds.

Greg Smith is the Rams' leading scorer with nine points, while Pierce Hornung leads the team with five rebounds.

The first half featured seven lead changes.

The key for Fresno State in the second half will be to maintain its effort levels in the second half, while making sure Colorado State doesn't turn its offensive boards into easy buckets under the basket.

Fresno State 19, Colorado State 18

7:19 left in the first half

OK, maybe Fresno State isn't that bad. The Bulldogs have a slim lead over the No. 2 seed, Colorado State, behind a balanced scoring attack. Six players have scored at least one point, led by Jerry Brown's six. Brown is also a perfect 3-for-3 from the floor.

The Bulldogs are also matching the Rams on the rebounding front. Fresno State has a slim 10-9 advantage in that aspect.

Ceded, the Rams are playing without the Dorian Green, the team's second leading scorer and floor general.

Greg Smith leads Colorado State with nine points, including a big dunk at the 12:01 mark.

Colorado State 6, Fresno State 6

15:33 left in the first half

After Kevin Olekaibe drilled a 3-pointer to give the Bulldogs a slim 6-4 lead, Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy burned a 30-second timeout, clearly unhappy with his team's effort in the early going of this game.

Aside from that, everything is even between the two teams.

Both teams have attempted two free throws, hitting one. The Bulldogs hold a slim 4-3 advantage on the boards, and are hitting 50 percent of their shots.

Remember, the Bulldogs have won in this building before, and they're not necessarily intimidated by the Rams. The longer this goes on, the more I like the Bulldogs' chances of making this game interesting.

Pre-Game: Colorado State vs. Fresno State

Colorado State (24-7) will be without the services of senior guard Dorian Green when the Rams take the on Fresno State (11-18) in the second quarterfinal game of the Mountain West Conference Tournament. Green averages 13.1 points per game.

The winner of the CSU-FSU game will play UNLV, which defeated Air Force 72-56 in the first quarterfinal 8:30 p.m. Friday.

The two teams last met on Feb. 27 where the Rams completed the sweep of the Bulldogs with a 74-67 victory in Fort Collins, Colo. Colorado State enters the game averaging 40.6 rebounds per game with a 12.4 advantage in rebounding margin. On the contrary, Fresno State is pulling down 32.4 boards per game with minus-3.6 rebounding margin.

While it's safe to say Colorado State has the advantage, completely counting Fresno State would be selling the Bulldogs short. Fresno State has won its last two games, including a stunning 61-52 victory over UNLV that opened the door for Colorado State to take the No. 2 seed.

Tale of the tape

Colorado State starters

F — Pierce Hornung, 6-5, Sr., 9.0 ppg, 9.3 rpg

F — Greg Smith, 6-6, Sr., 11.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg

C — Colton Iverson, 6-10, Sr., 14.6 ppg, 9.7 rpg

G — Wes Eikmeier, 6-3, Sr., 12.5 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 36% fg, 89.8% ft

G — Jon Octeus, 6-4, So., 4.2 ppg, 81% ft

Fresno State starters

F — Braeden Anderson, 6-9, Fr., 4.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg

F/C — Tanner Giddings, 6-10, Fr., 2.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg

G — Tyler Johnson, 6-2, Jr., 12.0, 4.1 rpg, 2.0 apg, 46% fg, 40% 3fg

G — Kevin Olekaibe, 6-2, Jr. 8.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.3 apg, 83% ft

G — Allen Huddleston, 6-2, 9.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg,

Delos' prediction: Colorado State 72, Fresno State 65

Paul Delos Santos can be reached at 990-2416 or [email protected]. Follow Paul on Twitter at twitter.com/pauliedelos.

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