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Boise State’s Alston fired up after loss: ‘I didn’t come back to be second or third.’

Boise State’s Alston fired up after loss: ‘I didn’t come back to be second or third.’

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Boise State’s Emmanuel Akot, left, Nevada’s Robby Robinson, center, and Boise State’s Devonaire Doutrive prepare for a rebound on Sunday at Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nevada. The Wolf Pack won 73-62.

If Grant Sherfield wasn’t already in the running for Mountain West men’s basketball player of the year, he sure is now.

The 6-foot-2 sophomore guard from Nevada had 29 points, eight assists, six rebounds and two steals to carry the Wolf Pack to a 73-62 victory over Boise State on Sunday at Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nevada. Nevada swept the two-game Mountain West series against the Broncos — their first back-to-back losses since January 2020 — and kept them winless in Reno since 2016.

Sherfield totaled 49 points, 22 assists, nine rebounds and five steals in two games to knock the Broncos out of first-place in the league standings. He made a game-winning fadeaway jumper in the opener Friday night and has nine 20-plus point performances in 14 league contests this season.

“He’s one of the best point guards on the West Coast, I know that,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said in a postgame Zoom interview. “He controls the game and he knows their offense, and I think with all their new guys, they just needed some time to jell. Now they’ve got it, and they’re all comfortable with what they’re doing.”

The Broncos (14-4, 10-3 MW) shot a season-low 34.6% (18-for-52) from the floor Sunday, were outrebounded 39-34 and gave up 38 points in the paint.

“I think our defense has definitely taken a little step back,” Boise State redshirt senior Derrick Alston Jr. said. “For me, I feel like really since the BYU game we’ve kind of taken a step back defensively. I think that’s just something that every guy’s got to look at themselves and, you know, take more pride one-on-one. But I think we’ve got to make some adjustments on that end too, and just be more confident with our plan.”


Freshman Alexis Mark had six points and five rebounds in Boise State’s 64-44 loss to Nevada on Feb. 7, 2021, at ExtraMile Arena. 

Despite their worst shooting performance of the season, the Broncos led by as many as nine points and were down just two points, 51-49, with 11:50 remaining in the second half. Even a stretch of 9:24 without a field goal didn’t turn out as disastrous as it could have been, and the Broncos used a pair of 3-pointers in a 32-second span to cut Nevada’s lead to 65-60 with 2:18 to go.

The Wolf Pack (14-7, 9-5) then finished the game on an 8-2 run, with Sherfield going 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the final 47.4 seconds to wrap up the win.

Rice lamented what could have been had the Broncos not gone 19-for-27 from the free-throw line, including missing the front end of three 1-and-1 opportunities.

“And that’s not even counting the open looks we had that we missed, but that’s a whole other thing,” Rice said. “You make the free throws, you keep it close, and then you find a way in the end, and we didn’t do that. I think we let one mistake or one missed shot lead to another and lead to more mistakes. It kind of compounded, and we just had a tired look to us.

“I don’t know if it’s being out on the road for two weeks, but we didn’t have the pep in our step that we usually have.”

Alston led the Broncos in scoring for the 11th time in 18 games this season with 17 points. Redshirt junior guard Emmanuel Akot notched 13 points on the heels of his career-high 19 points on Friday to score in double figures in consecutive games for the first time in his career. Redshirt junior center Mladen Armus matched his season high with 12 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots.

The Broncos’ next four games will be at home, beginning with a two-game series against UNLV (7-9, 4-5). The games are scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday (CBS Sports Network) and 8 p.m. Saturday (Fox Sports 1) at ExtraMile Arena. Immediate family members of athletes and coaches will be able to attend BSU games moving forward with a negative COVID-19 test.

“Even for me coming on this trip, I know that I don’t got a lot of time left. I don’t got a lot of minutes left here,” Alston said. “I’m going to do everything in my power to go out the right way. I didn’t come back to be second or third. I came back to win the league, and I think we still have an opportunity to do that. Obviously it’s a little bit harder, but life’s hard.

“We’re gonna come back home, have some good practices and get ready for this UNLV series.”


NEVADA 64, BOISE STATE 44: Shooting inconsistency and a lack of discipline on the defensive boards resulted in the fifth loss in the last six Mountain West games for the Boise State women’s basketball team.

After beating Nevada by 10 points on Friday, the Broncos shot a season-low 26.7% (16-for-60) from the floor Sunday afternoon at ExtraMile Arena, including a 1-for-10 effort in the second quarter, where they were outscored 17-3. Nevada (9-8, 5-7 MW) had lost eight straight games against the Broncos.

“(Nevada) was extremely aggressive offensively and defensively and really got after it, and that’s in their character,” Boise State coach Gordy Presnell told Chris Lewis in a postgame radio interview on 1350 AM. “... Obviously, you can’t go 16-for-60 and 2-for-19 and win any game. We had just an atrocious second quarter. It’s a young team, and we just got to go back tomorrow and prepare for UNLV.”

Boise State (9-6, 6-6) gave up 18 offensive rebounds that led to 16 Nevada second-chance points. The Broncos were just 2-for-19 (10.5%) from beyond the arc.

Redshirt senior Mallory McGwire was the only Bronco to score in double figures with 12 points and five rebounds. Jade Loville, Alexis Mark, Martina Machalova and Rachel Bowers all added six points apiece. Bowers also had a team-high six rebounds, and Mary Kay Naro distributed a game-best seven assists.

Presnell put 11 different players on the court.

“For the most part, we’ve got to improve our depth,” Presnell said. “We do get beat a little bit in depth, and we’re going to get better in that spot.”

Boise State will be on the road the next two weeks, beginning with a two-game series against UNLV (10-7, 8-4). The games are scheduled for 1 p.m. MT on Wednesday and 3 p.m. Thursday at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas. Both games will be streamed online at, or listen to a radio broadcast on 1350 AM.


BOISE ST. (14-4, 10-3 MW)

Armus 4-8 4-4 12, Kigab 1-6 2-4 5, Alston 5-10 4-6 17, Dennis 1-6 2-2 5, Shaver 1-4 2-3 4, Akot 5-10 2-4 13, Rice 1-7 0-0 3, Doutrive 0-1 3-4 3. Totals 18-52 19-27 62.

NEVADA (14-7, 9-5 MW)

Coleman 3-7 0-0 7, Washington 4-8 2-4 10, Cambridge 8-16 0-0 17, Foster 2-4 0-0 5, Sherfield 9-18 8-8 29, Milling 0-2 1-2 1, Meeks 0-2 0-2 0, Hymes 2-3 0-0 4, Robinson 0-0 0-0 0, Courseault 0-0 0-0 0, Henry 0-0 0-0 0, Huseinovic 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-60 11-16 73.

Halftime—Nevada 32-31. 3-Point Goals—Boise St. 7-21 (Alston 3-6, Akot 1-3, Dennis 1-3, Kigab 1-3, Rice 1-5, Shaver 0-1), Nevada 6-19 (Sherfield 3-6, Foster 1-1, Cambridge 1-4, Coleman 1-5, Milling 0-1, Meeks 0-2). Fouled Out—Foster. Rebounds—Boise St. 31 (Armus 8), Nevada 37 (Washington 10). Assists—Boise St. 13 (Dennis 5), Nevada 14 (Sherfield 8). Total Fouls—Boise St. 21, Nevada 26. A—50 (11,536).


NEVADA (9-8, 5-7 MW)

Da’Ja Hamilton 6-9 4-5 18; Amaya West 6-12 0-0 14; Nia Alexander 2-10 4-4 8; LaPraisjah Johnson 4-5 0-0 8; Lexie Givens 2-7 2-4 6; Leta Otuafi 2-4 0-0 4; Megan Ormiston 2-10 0-0 4; Dom Phillips 1-3 0-0 2; Bethany Carstens 0-1 0-0 0; Kenna Holt 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 25-63 10-13 64.

BOISE ST. (9-6, 6-6 MW)

Mallory McGwire 5-10 2-2 12; Martina Machalova 2-4 2-2 6; Jade Loville 3-13 0-0 6; Alexis Mark 1-6 4-5 6; Rachel Bowers 2-4 2-3 6; Mary Kay Naro 1-11 0-0 3; Anna Ostlie 1-4 0-0 3; Elodie Lalotte 1-2 0-0 2; Abby Muse 0-1 0-0 0; Cristina Gil 0-1 0-0 0; Kimora Sykes 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 16-60 10-12 44.

Nevada 20 17 15 12 — 64 Boise St 16 3 14 11 — 44 3-point goals — Nevada 4-13 (Hamilton 2-3; West 2-6; Givens 0-2; Holt 0-1; Alexander 0-1), Boise St. 2-19 (Naro 1-4; Ostlie 1-4; Loville 0-2; Mark 0-1; Bowers 0-1; Gil 0-1; Sykes 0-2; Machalova 0-1; McGwire 0-3). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Nevada 45 (Ormiston 6; Alexander 6; Givens 6; Otuafi 6), Boise St. 38 (Bowers 6). Assists — Nevada 7 (Hamilton 3), Boise St. 9 (Naro 7). Total fouls — Nevada 14, Boise St. 16. Technical fouls — None.


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