The Boise State men’s basketball team lost to South Dakota State 68-66 in an intense season opener.
“[The team] is going to respond the right way,” Rice said. “They’re going to get better at things … I think this team has a really, really high ceiling.”
The Jackrabbits began the first half with a dominant 8-0 run against the Broncos.
The Broncos struggled in multiple areas throughout the first half. The team went 9-26 (35%) from field goal range, 1-8 (13%) from behind the arc and had six turnovers. They also had two players, Chibuzo Agbo and Mohammed Sylla, get into foul trouble early in the half.
Boise State head coach Leon Rice received a technical for pointing towards the score board. This gave South Dakota State two free throws to extend their lead 33-21.
“It wasn’t about anything we said, it wasn’t about a gesture,” head coach Leon Rice said. “If you point to the screen, they give you a technical, so that’s what the ref did.”
Despite their struggles, the team was able to cut the Jackrabbit’s lead down to five points after Max Rice connected on a 3-pointer near end of the half.
Both teams went back and forth throughout the second half of the game with seven lead changes.
A scoring sequence between Naje Smith and Max Rice helped the Broncos close the lead down to four points with 14:02 left in the game.
A layup by Marcus Shaver Jr. helped the Broncos possess their first lead of the game with 8:43 left.
Shaver missed both of his free throw shots after he was fouled and sent to the free-throw line with the game tied at 66 and one minute left on the clock.
The Jackrabbits got the rebound off of Shaver’s second missed free throw and scored a layup in the final seconds to win 68-66.
Max Rice played well throughout the game, scoring a team-high 21 points and recording a career-high five steals.
“I want to thank all the fans that came out. We really appreciate that,” Max Rice said. “It felt really good. We just hope they keep coming back because we’re going to play hard. And we’re going to be there in the end just like we were that last year. I guarantee that.”
The Broncos next game will be on Nov. 11 against Washington State University at Idaho Central Arena.