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Bigger Boise State bounces Lobos with ease

BOISE, Idaho — After Saturday’s well-played, near upset of defending champion Nevada, New Mexico coach Paul Weir didn’t want any mixed messages about his team being OK with moral victories.

Wednesday, he didn’t face any such problem against the Mountain West Conference’s other title favorite.

The bigger Boise State Broncos bullied Weir’s Lobos, thoroughly dominating UNM in a 90-62 win in front of an announced Taco Bell Arena crowd of 7,557.

“I don’t know. I was pretty hard on them after the Nevada game and we obviously didn’t rebound well to that,” said Weir. “So, maybe I’ve just got to be nicer and more positive and just try and encourage and hope that we can still find something out of this season.

“I don’t want to just punt. I never wanted to. I don’t want to give up on this, especially after a score like this. It’s humiliating. It’s embarrassing.”

Fortunately for the Lobos (6-10, 1-2 Mountain West), who have not won a game outside Dreamstyle Arena, their next game is in Albuquerque and against a San Jose State team picked to finished at or near the bottom of the league standings.

On the other hand, if the Lobos play like they did Wednesday against Boise State (13-2, 3-0 MWC), it may not matter.

Boise State won the rebounding battle 45-25, held UNM to 34.9 percent shooting (just 44.4 percent on 2-point attempts compared with 65.2 percent for the Broncos) and outscored the Lobos 52-28 in the paint.

“They play big,” said Weir, even drawing an interesting comparison to a Maryland team that used its size to dominate the Lobos in November.

“I thought maybe our pressure would maybe get them into some smaller lineups and get us some better matchups, and it did at times. But they just kind of stuck with their size. And got the ball inside. It didn’t even necessarily hurt us as much on the defensive end, as bad as it was (there). We just couldn’t finish around the rim. They’re length around the rim really bothered us and we just left a lot of points there.”

The Broncos jumped to a 13-0 lead before an Anthony Mathis 3-pointer with 15:36 left. It hardly stopped the bleeding.

Boise State had first-half runs of 13-0 and 10-0. The Lobos’ biggest run of the opening 20 minutes was 4-0 with 2:20 left to play in the half. Boise State took a 45-22 lead into the break.

After UNM’s Dane Kuiper scored the first bucket after halftime, BSU’s preseason MWC Player of the Year Chandler Hutchison (17 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and a highlight reel dunk that made ESPN’s top 10), scored eight consecutive points. A Lexus Williams 3-pointer with 11:31 remaining pushed the Broncos lead to its largest margin of the night at 67-32.

While the Lobos did go on a 15-1 run after that, the game was never in doubt.

And the frustration was evident. Troy Simons drew two technical fouls and was ejected early in the second half, his second such ejection of the season.

Weir said he wasn’t sure enough about what happened with the technicals to comment, but wanted to stop short of saying Simon’s frustrations were symbolic of the entire team’s issues for the night.

UNM was led by 15 points for Joe Furstinger and 13 from Anthony Mathis. Furstinger, who had six rebounds, saw his four-game double-double streak come to an end.

Boise State’s Justinian Jessup led all scorers with 23 points.

Saturday: San Jose State at UNM, 7 p.m., TheMW.com, 770 AM/94.5 FM

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