Nevada's path to a potential Mountain West Tournament title will start with Boise State.
The eighth-seeded Broncos beat Colorado State, 66-57, in the first round of the event at Las Vegas' Thomas & Mack Center to advance to the quarterfinals where it will face top-seeded Nevada on Thursday at noon. The game will air on CBS Sports Network.
The Wolf Pack swept the season series with Boise State, although it needed a Cody Martin 3-pointer with 5 seconds remaining in their first game to score a 72-71 victory. Nevada then beat Boise State, 93-73, in the second game between the teams, that one coming at Lawlor Events Center.
In Boise State's win over Colorado State, Derrick Alston tallied a team-high 17 points while Zach Haney added 16 and Marcus Dickinson added 10. The Broncos shot 51.2 percent, including 5-of-16 from three. J.D. Paige had a game-high 25 points for Colorado State, which finished its season at 12-20.
Wolf Pack coach Eric Musselman said he likes how his team has been playing leading into the conference tournament.
“I thought we ended the season on the right note," said Musselman, whose team scored an 81-53 win over San Diego State in its regular-season finale to clinch a share of the conference title. "I thought we played pretty good at Air Force (a 90-79 win the game prior). I think we’re in the right mental frame. If you’re in a bad mental spot, you don’t bounce back like we did after Utah State (an 81-76 loss on March 2). That could have been the defining game. We could have clinched and all that other stuff. We got right on a plane and had great preparation for Air Force and I thought our preparation and shoot-around for San Diego State was the best since I’ve been here from an energy and focus standpoint. I don’t think they’re tired and I don't think anything other than we’re moving in the right direction.”
Prior to the Boise State-Colorado State game, Musselman was asked if his team matched up better against one of those opponents.
“I don’t think so," he said. "They’re different. Boise has two big guys. Colorado State has a big guy in Nico (Carvacho). Colorado State can really score the ball. Boise’s balanced offensively and defensively. I think both present problems.”