Boise State finally achieved its first celebratory moment as a member of the Mountain West Conference.
The Broncos defeated Air Force 72-61 on Feb. 11 for their first conference win as a member of the league.
Boise State snapped a school-worst eight-game losing streak and won for the first time since Dec. 31. The Broncos had lost all seven of their Mountain West contests since upgrading to the league after formerly being members of the Western Athletic Conference.
The victory also was the first in nine road games this season.
"I am so proud of our guys," Broncos coach Leon Rice said. "This is a tremendous league and we're a really young team. To get a win on the road is something that I am really proud of. We've been working hard and it was great to see that work pay off."
Boise State (11-12, 1-7) is now tied for last place in the conference with Air Force and doesn't have a realistic chance of finishing higher than seventh in the eight-team league. The Broncos are three games behind the three teams tied for sixth place.
Realistically, Boise State's best chances at winning another game or two in the conference is during the week ahead. The Broncos host Colorado State on Wednesday and TCU on Saturday.
Then things are tougher during the four-game stretch to conclude the season-road games against UNLV, Wyoming and New Mexico with a home contest against San Diego State mixed in.
But at least the fear of a winless conference record can be put to rest after the victory over the Falcons.
• Senior point guard Westly Perryman[/b] was suspended for the Air Force game for an unspecified violation of team rules.
"We were hired to build this program with character, unselfishness and a positive team attitude," Broncos coach Leon Rice said. "Instilling these core values in our team is the key to our long-term success both on and off the floor. Wes made a decision that didn't reflect these core values."
Perryman had started every game this season and is averaging 6.8 points per game and has a team-leading 36 steals.
• Sophomore guard Jeff Elorriaga returned from a right thumb injury to play 29 minutes against Air Force. Elorriaga only missed four games despite media reports in Boise proclaiming he would miss the rest of the season after being hurt on Jan. 21.
• Boise State shot a season-high 84 percent from the line against Air Force. The Broncos had made just 12-of-27 free throws (44.4 percent) over their previous two games.
By The Numbers:
51-Number of 3-pointers by [b]Anthony Drmic to pass the school's freshman record set by Coby Karl.
Quote To Note:
"We're looking for great opponents, especially in home-and-home situations. We want to keep bettering the schedule so if you can get a great basketball program like Memphis for a home-and-home, that's terrific."-Broncos coach Leon Rice on landing a series with basketball power Memphis after the Tigers joined the Big East, the conference Boise State is joining as a football-only member.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
This Week's Games;:
• vs. Colorado State, Feb. 15
Key Matchups: Point guard Westly Perryman had a solid offensive game with 16 points but also had troubles defending Colorado State's Dorian Green (20 points) in the first meeting. Boise State didn't have center Kenny Buckner available for that one and still managed 15 offensive rebounds. There were plenty of opportunities as Colorado State held the Broncos to 33.8 percent shooting.
• vs. TCU, Feb. 18
Key Matchups: Boise State collapsed late in the game and let a 15-point second-half lead get away in a contest that seemed to represent the Broncos' winless record in the first half of Mountain West play. The Broncos lacked poise and were solidly outplayed during TCU's late-game 20-2 run. The pairing of Boise State freshman guard Derrick Marks against TCU's Kyan Anderson is one to watch.
Futures Market: Freshman guard Joe Hanstad received his first career start against Air Force and scored a season-best 19 points. Hanstad made four 3-pointers in what was easily his top performance of the season. Hanstad hadn't scored more than five points in any of his 10 previous appearances. Hanstad was a prolific scorer in the state of North Dakota as a high school player and the Broncos are hoping he will develop into a consistent scoring threat at the college level. He is averaging 3.5 points after his big output.
• Freshman F Anthony Drmic had 12 points and 10 rebounds against Air Force for his first career double-double.
• Freshman G Derrick Marks had 11 points against Air Force and is averaging 13.3 points over the last four games.
• Junior F Drew Wiley scored 11 points against Air Force for his first double-digit outing since Dec. 5.