RENO, Nev. (AP) - Jonathan Gibson scored 22 points and Jahmar Young and Hernst Laroche each had 16 to help New Mexico State rally
from an early 10-point deficit and beat Boise State 80-70 Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Western Athletic Conference basketball tournament.
Wendell McKines added 12 points and 13 rebounds for the fifth-seeded Aggies (17-14), who used a pressure defense the second half to advance to Friday's semifinal against top-seeded Utah State (28-4), which beat Boise State 80-70 on Thursday.
Mark Sanchez scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds and Anthony Thomas had 18 points on 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point range
for the fourth-seeded Broncos (19-12).
Thomas made three 3-point shots in a 5-minute span to help Boise State take a 23-16 lead that grew to 30-20 on Jamar Greene's 3-pointer 8:12 before the half. But the Aggies answered with a 12-2 run - capped by back-to-back 3-point goals by Laroche and Gibson - to make it 32-32 and led 38-36 at the half.
"When we made the switch to go man-to-man, it got us going," New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies said.
"The defensive side got us going offensively in terms of pushing the ball," he said. "We got them on their heels a little bit with our full-court pressure."
Gibson made his first three attempts from 3-point range in the second half to help put New Mexico State ahead for good 56-48 with 11 minutes left in the game.
"We were up 10 and then we let them back in the game. That was the key stretch," Boise State coach Greg Graham said. "We had 18 turnovers and they had 9 and that was the key to the game. We didn't take care of the ball."
Sanchez had three baskets inside over a 3-minute stretch to pull the Broncos to within 66-63 at 5:45. But Young was fouled on a drive and converted the 3-point play and Gibson followed a 15-foot baseline jumper with a 3-pointer to make it 74-65 with 1:45 left and seal the win.
"It was an up-and-down game and that's the way I like to play," Gibson said, "so I give all the credit to my teammates for finding me."