Boise State’s season came to an end after a loss to Illinois in the second round of the National Invitational Tournament. Boise State finished the season with a record of 20-12, their fifth season in a row with at least 20 wins. Boise State also got their first postseason win since 2011 when they made the semifinals of the College Basketball Invitational.
This is also the last game that Nick Duncan will have worn a uniform for Boise State. After the game in an interview with the Idaho Statesman he said “I made the right decision to come to Boise State, I’ve developed as a player, and more importantly and what this program is about, I’ve developed as a person off the court, the way I handle things, I’ve been turned into a man, and that’s what the program’s all about. I’ve got a second home in Boise.” Nick Duncan started off hot in the first half of the game, and ended up shooting 4-11 from 3-point range.
James Reid, the other senior on the team, was unable to play because of injury. David Wacker was also out of the game due to injury. This caused Boise State to have to put in some players that normally don’t get as much playing time, making the later stages of the game more difficult.
Boise State was up 34-33 at halftime, but were unable to keep the lead and would lose 71-56. Chandler Hutchison said in a postgame interview “We had a lot of opportunities and wide open shots, that just didn’t fall … We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game, and that they were going to come out strong.” Boise State shot 24% from behind the 3-point compared to Illinois’ 40.9%.
Despite losing this game Boise State shows tons of potential for the upcoming season. When asked about the future of this team Duncan said “This younger class is coming through, it’s going to be special.” The two leading point scorers Chandler Hutchison and Paris Austin; Austin will return for the 2017-18 season. Other key players returning are Justinian Jessup and David Wacker both who averaged over 15 minutes a game this season. Chandler Hutchison said in a post-game interview “It’s obvious to see some of the young talent we have, I’m excited, more excited maybe than I’ve ever been for next season and this offseason.” Boise State had 4 freshmen play in at least 9 games this year.
After being projected to finish fifth in the conference preseason, and Boise State finished third, out-performing expectations. Fans have a lot to look forward to next year as Boise State should have the goal of reaching the NCAA tournament, with either an at-large bid or by winning the conference tournament, both of which are realistic goals next season.