BOISE — Before they sat down to speak to the media Saturday afternoon, the first words that came from the mouths of both player and coach said it all.
“At least it’s sunny outside,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said after the Broncos’ 65-49 loss to New Mexico.
Junior forward Drew Wiley emitted something not quite fit for print when he saw the stat sheet.
Against a Lobos team that had won its previous three games by a combined 89 points, the Broncos struggled to score, and the result was a school-record eighth straight loss.
“I think we’re all at about 10 right now,” Wiley said when asked about his team’s frustration level. “It’s about as bad as it can get, frustration-wise.”
The Broncos (10-12, 0-7 MWC) that scored 80 or more points five times in their first nine games seemed like a distant memory, as Boise State made 19-of-61 attempts from the field, including 6-of-28 3-pointers.
“To compete with that team, you can’t go 6-for-28 from 3,” Rice said. “When you get an open one, you’ve really got to make them pay. The really good teams can make some contested ones. We’re not making our open ones.”
Wiley was 1-of-9 on his 3-pointers, while freshman Anthony Drmic was 1-of-8. After a 3-pointer by Thomas Bropleh put the Broncos up 12-10 with 12 minutes, 30 seconds until the half, Boise State hit a wall, and the Lobos (19-4, 5-2) took advantage, going on a 13-0 run.
The Broncos twice got within five, the last after a Kenny Buckner dunk 12 seconds into the second half that made it 32-27, but New Mexico answered with a 15-3 run.
“(I was) feeling like we kept getting right there, then it would just go back up,” Wiley said. “We’d be down five, then it’d be 12. We just couldn’t quite crack it.
“A few of those shots going down might’ve helped.”
Following a near-upset of No. 17 San Diego State on Wednesday, the Broncos fell flat again at home. Last Saturday, after taking then-No. 12 UNLV to overtime the previous Wednesday, the Broncos were subpar against Wyoming.
“I thought we were ready,” Wiley said. “We just kind of had an off night — everybody. Especially me.”
Despite the Broncos’ struggles, New Mexico coach Steve Alford had praise for the young team.
“They’re riddled with injuries but they’re right there,” he said. “I thought they had San Diego State beat the other night so they had our attention.”
If the Broncos had one bright spot, it was the play of Buckner, who had 11 points and eight rebounds in 26 minutes. He played very good defense on preseason Mountain West player of the year Drew Gordon (five points).
The Broncos now get a breather, as they don’t play again until Saturday at Air Force, a team that beat them 74-59 on Jan. 14 in Boise.
“We need a week right now,” Rice said. “I think we need to get our mentality right and our mojo back for this stretch run.”