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Rice scores career-best 35 points for Boise State in 86-78 win at No. 19 New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Max Rice scored a career-high 35 points and Boise State beat No. 19 New Mexico 86-78 on Wednesday night, handing the Lobos their first home loss of the season.

Chibuzo Agbo added 16 points for the Broncos (15-6, 6-2 Mountain West), and O’Mar Stanley had 12 points and 14 rebounds.

Donovan Dent led New Mexico (18-4, 6-3) with a career-best 31 points. Jamal Mashburn Jr. scored 14 for the Lobos, who fell to 11-1 at home. They had won five straight games overall — each one by at least 18 points.

“We knew how good they were," Boise State coach Leon Rice said. "We came off a tough, tough game (a 90-84 overtime loss to Utah State). And it was tough to respond and recover, and nobody in the world thought we could come down here and do this. After what we’ve seen, there were a couple of times I turned off the computer. I didn’t want to watch anymore, because I knew the teams they destroyed and they absolutely blitzkrieged some great teams.”

New Mexico got a subpar offensive performance from Jaelen House, who came in averaging 15.6 points per game. He missed his first eight shots and finished with 12 points on 2-for-15 shooting.

The game was tied at 67 before a late run bookended by 3-pointers from Max Rice and Agbo gave Boise State a 77-69 lead it did not relinquish over the final 3:44.

Max Rice was 7 of 14 on 3-pointers and missed just once inside the arc, his latest big performance versus the Lobos after setting his previous career high with 30 points against them last season.

The senior guard was 12 for 43 from the field over the last seven games before breaking out.

“A lot of sleepless nights for me, and I came into this one more locked in than I have in my entire career,” Max Rice said. “And I’ll say this was one of the bigger wins we’ve had in our program’s history.”

Boise State took a 29-20 lead midway through the first half after a 14-0 run over a five-minute span.

New Mexico trimmed it to 41-38 at halftime and regained the lead at 49-48 early in the second half.

BIG PICTURE

New Mexico came in leading the Mountain West Conference in scoring at 84.3 points a game, while the Broncos were allowing the fewest points at 66.4 per game.

The win left Boise State a game behind first-place Utah State.

STOLEN IDENTITY

New Mexico has been feasting on steals, averaging 10 a game and turning them into easy points. But the Lobos managed only four steals on this night, while Boise State nabbed seven to earn an 8-6 edge in points off turnovers.

“We were not able to turn them over, which has really, really helped us,” New Mexico coach Richard Pitino said. “Eleven turnovers, but we weren’t getting the steals that we had been getting.”

GLASS CLEANERS

In addition to Stanley’s rebounding efforts, Agbo and Tyson Degenhart each pulled down seven boards, contributing to a 41-33 edge in rebounds for Boise State. And with 13 offensive boards, the Broncos had a 17-9 advantage in second-chance points.

“They played with such a great motor on the glass,” Pitino said.

UP NEXT

Boise State is at home Saturday against Air Force.

New Mexico starts the second half of its conference schedule next Tuesday at Wyoming. The Lobos won the first meeting 77-60.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball