Boise State Men’s Basketball dominates New Mexico in two-game series to open their conference season

The Boise State men’s basketball team began their conference season on Dec. 21. The Broncos took home two wins against New Mexico. 

This season looks a little different for players with no fans being allowed in the stadium, Boise State will play each opponent in a two-game series. Due to COVID-19, this style will promote less travel and exposure between teams. 

During Monday night’s game, New Mexico was the first to put points up on the board. But soon enough, the Broncos pulled ahead. Derrick Alston, Max Rice and RayJ Dennis all had 3-pointers within the first couple of minutes. 

Guard Emmanuel Akot was one of the five starters for the Broncos. Not only did he score 12 points, but he was also effective with passes and rebounds. With four seconds left in the first half, Akot was fouled on a layup. The Broncos closed out the half with 10 points ahead of the Lobos.

“I think just his versatility for sure,” Alston said. “He got the ball in his hands a lot, so he’s just making the right reads, making the right plays and rebounding the ball. So, on both ends he did really solid for us.”

Guard Derrick Alston started the half with his second dunk of the game. According to Head Coach Leon Rice, Alston is the best basketball player on the team. Later into the half, Altson scored back-to-back 3-pointers and then a layup. He ran off the court into the socially-distanced team benches to celebrate. 

The Broncos beat the Lobos in their first game 77-53. Rice said he and his players were going to celebrate this win, but the celebration ends at 11:59 p.m. and then they will get back to work.

[Photo from a Boise State men’s basketball home game against College of Idaho]
Photo by Mackenzie Hudson | The Arbiter

ExtraMile Arena was lit up by different uniform colors tonight with the team wearing bright orange throwback uniforms in their second game against New Mexico. The eclectic color clearly worked for the Broncos since they held the lead for the entirety of the game and came out with the win.

Guard Max Rice was a standout shooter this game. He alone scored 22 points and contributed to the team’s 60% shooting average. 

“I think my teammates do a really good job at just getting me open and I think I have like the best role in the country because all I gotta do is just catch and shoot it,” Rice said. 

In Monday’s post-game press conference, Rice talked about working more on team defense. There was a point in the second half where New Mexico was not able to score for roughly three minutes. 

“It’s been a big emphasis,” Rice said. “We beat that trap with our offense. We like to run and we like to move the ball. Our defense creates a bunch of offense for us and they set the tone of the game; they set the tone of the whole week with our defense and our rebounds.”

Dennis took several shots throughout the game, but scored for the first time with a 3-pointer in the second half. 

Continuing his slam dunk streak, Alston scored eight out of 22 points just from dunks. The Broncos were able to close out the two-game series with another win 89-52 over the Lobos. 

“I feel like everybody just had it going tonight offensively and we were just sharing the ball really well and just making the right plays, taking what the defense gives us,” Alston said.

Boise State will be on the road to play the San Jose State Spartans during New Year’s Eve weekend.

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