Broncos Prepare for Battle as They Host Rival Idaho

BRONCOS PREPARE FOR BATTLE AS THEY HOST IDAHO:  After a disappointing loss to the Vandals earlier this season, the Boise State men’s basketball team (17-7, 7-4 WAC) looks to reclaim their spot as the top team in the state as they host the University of Idaho (11-13, 5-6 WAC), Wednesday, Feb. 18, at 7:07 p.m., at Taco Bell Arena.

ABOUT THE IDAHO VANDALS (11-13, 5-6 WAC): The Vandals posted their fifth conference win of the season after beating San Jose State, 74-66, tying the 2007-08 squad for the most WAC victories in a season ... The win over the Spartans helped the Vandals remain in fifth place in the conference and gain separation from San Jose State and La Tech ... With 11 wins this season, Idaho has earned its most wins in a season since the 2003-04 Vandals finished 14-16 overall ... Leading the way for Idaho is junior Mac Hopson as he leads the WAC in assists (5.63 apg), ranks third in the conference in steals (1.75 spg) and assist/turnover ratio (1.96), fourth in scoring (16.5 ppg), fifth in minutes played (33.92 mpg) and 10th in 3-point field goals made (1.63 pg) ... Not to be overshadowed is junior Brandon Wiley, as he leads the team in rebounding and is 13th in the league with 5.8 rebounds per game, in addition to ranking fifth in field goal percentage (.563) and seventh in offensive rebounds (2.33 rpg) ... As a team, the Vandals lead the WAC in turnover margin (+1.92) and are third in both 3-point field goal percentage (.366) and steals (6.88 spg).

LAST TIME AGAINST IDAHO (JANUARY 29, 2009): Mac Hopson scored 20 points to lead the Idaho Vandals over Boise State 63-59 ... Brandon Wiley had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Vandals while Kashif Watson added 10 points and led the team in rebounding with 10 ... Boise State was led by the 18 points of Mark Sanchez, who led all rebounders with 14 ... This marked Sanchez's fifth season and career double-double ... Jamar Greene added a career-high 16 points and Paul Noonan finished with 11 for the Broncos ... Idaho was down 26-22 with 2:45 left in the first half when Wiley hit a jumper that sparked a 9-0 run and gave Idaho a 29-26 lead at the break ... The Vandals held a 12-point lead in the second half after Wiley hit a putback with 12:40 to go, but Boise State began to whittle it down ... The Broncos' Greene cut Idaho's lead to 49-44 with 4:57 left in the game, but Idaho coach Don Verlin called a time-out to settle his troops ... Boise State continued to battle but Idaho began to hit from the perimeter with Hopson and Terrence Simmons hitting 3-pointers and long 2-pointers ... Simmons hit a pair of baseline jumpers with less than two minutes to go, giving Idaho a 59-52 lead ... Idaho was only 11-for-25 in free throws for the game but hit 3-of-4 free throws in the final 12.3 seconds to seal the win ... Idaho's defense held Boise State to 37 percent shooting. The Vandals shot 47 percent for the game.

THE BRONCOS AGAINST THE VANDALS: Historically,  Boise State leads the series, 47-33 ... The Vandals won the last game, breaking the Broncos are 14-game winning streak over Idaho ... The last time Idaho posted a win over Boise State when playing in Boise was during the 1998-99 season with a 75-72 point win ... While the Broncos are on an impressive winning streak, the Vandals have not posted back-to-back wins over Boise State since the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 seasons when they posted three consecutive wins ... Coach Greg Graham owns a 12-1 record against Idaho, but is 0-1 against Idaho Head Coach Don Verlin, who is in his first year as a head coach.

WEEKNIGHT ECONOMY BUSTER: Fans wanting to attend Wednesday night’s men’s basketball in-state showdown between Boise State and Idaho, can take advantage of the $7 "Weeknight Economy Buster" ticket.  The “Weeknight Economy Buster” ticket offer is good for tickets purchased at any Select-A-Seat outlet.  Seating is in the Mezzanine and select sections of the Parquet.  There are eight Albertson’s Select-A-Seat outlets (Boise -16th and State, Five Mile and Overland, Gary Lane and State; Eagle Eagle and State and Eagle and McMillan; Cherry Lane in Meridian; 12th Avenue in Nampa and Cleveland Boulevard in Caldwell), in addition to the Boise State Student Union Building, the Morrison Center, the Athletic Ticket Office and Taco Bell Arena Box Office.  Tickets can also be purchased through BroncoSports.com by clicking on the ticket link at the top of the website.

BOISE CROWDS GIVE BRONCOS BOOST: Boise State’s crowd of 7,587 against No.21 Utah State marked the largest home crowd the Broncos have played in front of this season ... The attendance was not just a record high for the season, but is the ninth largest crowd in Taco Bell since head coach Greg Graham took over the program ... This marks the largest crowd Boise State has played in front of at home since Jan. 10, 2008 against New Mexico State when the Broncos fell 76-73 in front of 7,054 fans ... The Broncos own a record of 7-0 when playing at home in front of crowds of 3,000+.

HOME SWEET HOME: The Broncos have lost just one time this season when playing on their home court, owning a home record of 12-1 overall ... The only loss came against San Francisco, Dec. 13, when the Dons beat out the Broncos, 79-76, in the final minute of play ... The last time Boise State posted a better record at home was during the 2006-07 season when the Broncos went 13-2 when playing at Taco Bell Arena ... The win over No. 21 Utah State pushed Boise State to 7-4 in WAC play and is now 5-0 in conference play when at home ... The last time the Broncos opened a season with a 5-0 conference record at home was during the 1997-98 season when Boise State went undefeated at home in Big West play.

STREAK STOPPERS:  Entering Saturday night’s game against No. 21 Utah State, the Aggies owned the nation’s longest current winning streak at 19 games as they owned an overall record of 24-1, not to mention were on a 12-game conference winning-streak and were undefeated in the WAC ... The Broncos win not only snapped the Aggies winning-streak, but gave Utah State its first loss in league play.

BRONCOS BUST RANKED OPPONENTS: Boise State’s win over No. 21 Utah State marked the first win over a ranked opponent since last season when the Broncos posted a 73-70 point win over No. 20 BYU, Dec. 29, 2007 ... Ironically, the only other loss Utah State has recorded this season was to BYU ... The Broncos now own an overall record of 4-4 over ranked opponents when played on Boise State’s home floor, with each of the four wins being over teams ranked in the 20’s ... The last two wins the Broncos have posted over a ranked opponent have knocked each of those teams out of the AP top-25, as BYU dropped out of the polls after falling to the Broncos last season, and Utah State dropped out after last week’s loss to Boise State.

GRAHAM GETS 20s: Overall, the Broncos own a record of 5-18 against ranked opponents ... Of those five wins, three of them came under head coach Greg Graham, including last week’s win over No. 21 Utah State, last season’s win over No. 20 BYU and a win over No. 24 Nevada in 2005.

NOT IN OUR HOUSE: The Broncos win over No. 21 Utah State on Saturday night denied the Aggies from clenching the Western Athletic Conference’s regular season title ... Ironically, the Broncos had the opportunity to clench the regular season title last season at Taco Bell Arena, but fell to Utah State ... This is the second consecutive year in which the two teams have been matched up against one another on Boise State’s home court with the opportunity to clench the WAC title, but fell short of walking away with the trophy.

RADIO:  KIDO (580 & 630 AM) in Boise will broadcast the game live with Bob Behler providing the play-by-play. Former Boise State basketball player Abe Jackson handles color commentary. The games can also be heard on the Boise State Broncos Radio Network in Twin Falls (KSNQ 98.3 FM), Pocatello (KWIK 1240AM), Idaho Falls (KID 590AM), Sun Valley (KYZK 107.5FM), and McCall (KDZY 98.3 FM). KIDO, which is in its first year as the home of the Broncos, will broadcast every Boise State game.

TELEVISION:  Saturday’s game against No. 21 Utah State will be available on KTVB Channel 7 featuring veteran announcers David Augusto (play-by-play) and Brian King (color commentator).

BRONCOS ON THE INTERNET:  Fans can log on to broncosports.com and watch all home games.   By becoming a Bronco Vision premium subscription member, Boise State fans will receive access to live games, past games, seasonal highlights, special features and interviews that can only be seen by paying the membership price of $9.95 per month or $69.95 per year.  Bronco Vision members will need a high speed internet connection. Live stats can be found at broncosports.com to follow the game on game tracker.

BRONCO OF THE WEEK: Senior Mark Sanchez led Boise State with 20 points in the Broncos 66-56 upset over No. 21 Utah State, snapping the nation’s longest winning streak ... The forward went 8-for-12 from the field, to shoot shot 66.6 percent on the night, in addition to going 4-for-6 from the line and adding four rebounds and a pair of assists ... The win also denied the Aggies a chance to clinch the conference title on the Broncos home court ... Earlier in the week, Sanchez recorded his seventh double-double of both this season and his career in the Broncos 82-88 loss at Fresno State ... Against the Bulldogs, the senior tallied a team-high 11 rebounds while adding 10 points, three assists and two steals ... On the week, the senior averaged 15.0 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.0 steals per game ... After last week’s games, Sanchez currently ranks fourth in the WAC in defensive rebounds (5.38 rpg), fifth in rebounding (7.3 rpg), 10th in field goal percentage (.509) and 12th in scoring (12.8 ppg).

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