BOISE, Idaho — The Boise State Broncos improved to 10-1 in the Mountain West Conference with a tough 69-63 win over Bryce Hamilton and the UNLV Runnin' Rebels.
The Broncos would not have Emmanuel Akot for the second game in a row who continues to be day-to-day with a knee injury and his status is doubtful for Sunday's matchup against Colorado State.
Boise State would fall behind early as Bryce Hamilton scored 18 points in the first half and UNLV would end up taking a seven-point lead into halftime.
"Hamilton holy cow he starts off three for three from three and one of those was a four," said Coach Leon Rice. "You were like this guy is never going to miss and we just kept throwing different things at him to try and break his rhythm."
In the second half Boise State came out in a zone, they didn't stay in it long but it worked and helped the Broncos start the half with a 6-0 run.
Hamilton also picked up two quick offensive fouls and had to go to the bench with three fouls, in the game UNLV got whistled for 23 fouls compared to 13 for Boise State and the Broncos shot 22 more free throws.
With 7:04 to play BSU would take a five-point lead on a Tyson Degenhart three-pointer the freshman had fifteen and was one of four Broncos in double figures.
But UNLV would not go away and another bucket by Hamilton who led all scorers with 32 points pulled the Runnin' Rebels within one with 1:32 left.
Then Abu Kigab would hit the biggest shot of the game a baseline three, Kigab led Boise State with 18 and the Broncos hit 5-6 from the line to hold on for a 69-63 win.
"I'm so proud of them because our backs were against the wall," said Rice. "We did the things we needed to do down the stretch and that's the trademark of this team."
Boise State also got a lift from Mladen Armus who helped BSU keep it close in the first half, Armus has been struggling in the past few weeks but he had 12 points and seven rebounds without getting into foul trouble for the first time in a long time.
It doesn't get any easier for the Broncos who host third-place Colorado State on Super Bowl Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
"We need a huge crowd," said Rice. "The Rams are going to win the Super Bowl in a blowout so don't even worry about that."