Having gone through the first pass at each of the Mountain West Conference teams without a win, Boise State coach Leon Rice inserted freshman Joe Hanstad into the starting lineup. The move paid off, as Hanstad scored 19 points to lead the Broncos to a 72-61 road win at Air Force last night. The Broncos had lost to the same Air Force team by 15 points in Boise last month.
Freshman Anthony Drmic continued his solid play with his first career double-double--12 points and 10 rebounds. Drew Wiley and freshman Derrick Marks each had 11 points and junior college transfer Kenny Buckner added 10 for Boise State. Sophomore Jeff Elorriaga, playing his first game since fracturing his thumb against TCU on January 21, led the team with five assists and added six rebounds.
Boise State, which had played national powers UNLV and San Diego State down to the wire only to lose by double digits to the league's lower-ranked teams, built as much as a 20-point lead in the second half. Air Force rallied to cut the deficit to 11, but the Broncos held on for their first Mountain West win. Boise State connected on 21-of-25 free throw attempts (84%) to keep the Falcons at bay. Boise State improves to 11-12 on the season and 1-7 in the Mountain West, while Air Force dropped to 11-11 overall and 1-7 in league play.
Boise State returns home to host Colorado State Wednesday night in Taco Bell Arena. Tipoff is 8 p.m.