Fresno State (7-10) at Boise State (13-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 23, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Taco Bell Arena (12,480) -- Boise, Idaho. Television: None. Home Record: FSU 4-5, BSU 7-1. Away Record: FSU 3-5, BSU 4-3. Neutral Record: FSU 0-0, BSU 2-0. Conference Record: FSU 1-3, BSU 1-2. Series Record: Boise State leads, 16-15.
GAME NOTES: Former members of the Western Athletic Conference get together on Wednesday night as Mountain West contenders, as the Boise State Broncos host the Fresno State Bulldogs at Taco Bell Arena.
After losing only twice through the first 15 games, the Broncos have gone and dropped back-to-back outings, both in league play. First it was a 79-74 setback in overtime against New Mexico at home a week ago, and then over the weekend the squad was thumped by Air Force at Clune Arena, 91-80, the point total by the Falcons being the highest of the season versus BSU, which is now 1-2 in league action.
As for the Bulldogs, currently all by themselves at the bottom of the MWC standings at 1-3, they were taken out by Nevada, another team which has moved from the WAC to the MWC, in a 68-61 final over the weekend. The loss was the third in four tries and the seventh in nine games since the first week of December.
The Broncos own a slim 16-15 advantage in the all-time series with Fresno State, although it was the Bulldogs who won the most recent encounter last January by a 72-59 score at home.
The Bulldogs held Nevada to just seven field goals in the first half of their meeting, but at the same time FSU converted eight baskets. However, the turning point really came in the second half as the Wolf Pack outscored Fresno by an 18-6 margin at the free-throw line. Tyler Johnson scored 16 points, Kevin Foster 15 to go with seven rebounds, while Kevin Olekaibe tacked on 10 points off the bench. Not much of an offensive team this season, the Bulldogs are scoring only 60.3 ppg, led by Johnson with his 11.0 ppg stemming from 50.0 percent shooting behind the 3-point line. Thankfully, the defense for Fresno State has battled hard by limiting opponents to just 28.8 percent accuracy beyond the arc and 59.4 ppg overall, yet the program is still three games under .500 overall.
Boise State led by as many as seven points versus the Falcons, but the Broncos experienced a 29-point swing and while they didn't fall by 22 points, they lost by double digits nonetheless versus the Academy. Ryan Watkins did all he could to keep the Broncos in the mix as he recorded a double-double with 24 points and 13 rebounds, shooting 10-of-13 from the floor. Anthony Drmic added 19 points, hitting on 5-of-11 shots beyond the arc before fouling out, while Derrick Marks tacked on another 17 points for the Broncos in the setback. Marks is not only the leading scorer for the Broncos with his 17.0 ppg, having made good on 85.4 percent at the free-throw line, he is also tops with 61 assists and 36 steals, demonstrating that he is more than willing to contribute in any way possible to make the team successful. Drmic (15.5 ppg) and Jeff Elorriaga (11.9 ppg) are also key influences on offense as they've combined for 100 of the unit's 149 3-pointers.
As long as the Bulldogs are not the ones dictating the pace for this game, the odds look good for Boise State to bounce back from an unexpected loss to Air Force.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Boise State 74, Fresno State 62
01/23 10:33:55 ET