After a win last weekend over the College of Idaho the Boise State men’s basketball team traveled to Provo, Utah to play a non-conference game against BYU on Wednesday, Dec. 9. The game began with a slow start in the first half but picked up as the Broncos and Cougars battled neck and neck until the end. The Broncos came out with a win with a score of 74-70.
Redshirt junior guard Marcus Shaver Jr. was ruled out of the game due to a foot injury.
BYU (5-1) forced 11 turnovers in the first half which allowed more scoring for the Broncos. The Cougars were unable to score until there was 11 minutes and 19 seconds left in the first half. Boise State led 14-2.
“We had a lot of ball pressure and weren’t letting them go downhill,” said senior forward Abu Kigab. “We just executed.”
The last time BYU and Boise State faced off was Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. The game went into overtime, but the Broncos came out with the win, 72-68.
Redshirt sophomore guard Max Rice and redshirt junior guard Emmanuel Akot both had 3-pointers in the first half. Meanwhile, BYU was 1-10 in 3-pointers.
As Boise State held the lead 30-21 heading into halftime, redshirt senior guard Derrick Alston and sophomore guard RayJ Dennis both had jumpers to close out the half.
“We put in a ton of work,” Dennis said. “We get out there we trust the work and with that comes confidence and hopefully wins.”
After halftime, the Broncos started off with the ball. Akot immediately put two points on the board. Earlier this season, Akot missed the first two games against (#17) Houston and Sam Houston State due to COVID-19.
Rice had a big shot after a fast break early in the second half to put three points up for the Broncos. During last week’s game Head Coach Leon Rice celebrated 200 wins in his career at Boise State. That same night, Rice put 16 points up for the Broncos and had 12 rebounds.
With 10 minutes to go, BYU scored to tie the game 48-48. Akot scored two points at the free-throw line and Dennis shot a jumper to add to a total of 19 personal points for the night.
“They were putting a lot of pressure on us with their offense and they got in a good rhythm,” Rice said. “Our guys would not allow it, they wanted to guard and they guarded just enough down the stretch to get the win.”
Towards the end of the game, Kigab put two 3-pointers, a jumper, and two free-throws on the board.
The game was all tied up 70-70 similar to last year’s game against BYU. However, this game did not go into overtime as Akot shot a 3-pointer to put the Broncos ahead with 13 seconds left in the game. Rice rebounded the ball and a foul was called. He put up one more point for the Broncos to win.
“I’m just very happy for my guys and the way they played,” Kigab said. “They came out here and played their hearts out and they’re just amazing.”
The Broncos will face off Weber State on Sunday, Dec. 13 back in Boise. The matchup between New Mexico and Boise State has been rescheduled for Dec. 21 and Dec. 23 at ExtraMile Arena.