The Boise State men’s basketball team has kicked it into high gear over the past month, facing opponents such as Nevada, Wyoming, UNLV, San Jose State, Utah State and Santa Clara.
The Broncos went 4-2 throughout this stretch of games and have officially opened up Mountain West conference play.
Boise State vs. Santa Clara
Boise State closed out non-conference play with a 73-58 loss against Santa Clara on Dec. 22.
The Broncos started strong and entered halftime with a 36-34 lead, but Santa Clara responded by opening the second half with a 22-5 run.
Santa Clara went up by 17 points with less than eight minutes remaining.
Boise State responded with three field goals during a stretch and were able to hold Santa Clara to zero field goals for a majority of the final 10 minutes.
Junior guard Chibuzo Agbo led the Broncos with 12 points, while sophomore forward Tyson Degenhart tallied 11 points, nine rebounds and two assists.
With the closing of non conference play, the Broncos went 10-3 in non conference games this season. Making it the sixth time in program history with double-digit non-conference wins. Five have come under Leon Rice’s tenure.
Boise State vs. Nevada
The team opened up Mountain West conference play with a dramatic and heartbreaking loss against the University of Nevada, Reno at Lawlor Events Center on Dec. 28.
With just 13.4 seconds left, junior guard Pavle Kuzmanovic made a go-ahead basket to give Boise State a 72-71 lead. Despite the great effort, a Nevada layup with 3.8 seconds remaining was enough to defeat the Broncos, 74-72.Agbo recorded his second career double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds (career high) and senior guard Marcus Shaver Jr. recorded a game high 22 points. Both Shaver, Jr.and senior forward Naje Smith recorded 20 points and combined for 69 points.
Smith also accumulated a career-high 20 points to go along with five rebounds.
Boise State vs. San Jose State
Boise State did not disappoint fans in their first home conference game of the season after defeating San Jose State 67-64.
With a tie game and only 30 seconds remaining, Boise State forced a turnover and put their faith in Shaver, Jr.
The inbound play put the ball straight into Shaver, Jr.’s hands, and the fifth-year guard dribbled the clock down before drilling a step-back three-pointer with 2.4 seconds remaining.
“It was the perfect storm, I was looking at all the conditions,” Smith said. “We had the ball with 20 seconds left, we had Shaver in the game, and we had a tie ballgame. That’s the most fun time to play because if you miss you are going to overtime, but if you make it, you’re the hero. We all know who the hero of this story is.”
With Shaver, Jr. ‘s game winning shot, he now has made five game-tying or game-winning shots in the final 30 seconds of a game in his Boise State career.
“I was really calm,” Shaver, Jr. said. “I’ve been in that situation a lot. It’s just like I’m at the park getting up shots.”
Boise State vs. Utah State
Each of the Broncos five starters recorded double-figure scoring as Boise State blazed past Utah State by 23 points for a 82-59 victory on Jan. 7 in extra mile arena.
In front of the ninth-largest crowd for a men’s basketball game in facility history, the 12,007 people in attendance were given a show.
“I feel like those types of games are why you play college basketball,” Max Rice said. “A sold-out arena against a Quad-1 team where both teams are super competitive, it was a fun and competitive game the whole way.”
The Broncos shot 54.8% (17-31) from the floor in the first half, including 75% (6-8) from deep and recorded a season high for first-half points with 45.
13 points from Tyson Degenhart and eight from Marcus Shaver, Jr. helped the Broncos jump out to a 15-point lead over the Aggies (13-3, 3-0 MW) at halftime.
Boise State opened the second period with a 13-4 run, holding the Aggies scoreless for nearly three minutes to push the lead to 24 with 14 minutes remaining.
Despite Utah State’s efforts, the Bronco defense clamped down, locking down their second Mountain West win of the season.
“Thank you fans,” head coach Leon Rice said. “That was a huge atmosphere and a great Mountain West game. That was a really good team we beat today and we had to play a great game to beat them. Our guys showed up and executed what they needed to execute and were dialed in. I was really proud of them.”
Boise State vs. UNLV
Boise State men’s basketball shot an impressive 71.8% from the field and 61.5% from three-point range in the second half to empower a comeback victory, 84-66, over UNLV on Jan. 11.
Despite building a seven-point advantage, Boise State faced a scoring drought as UNLV held the Broncos scoreless for over four minutes.
The Rebels used an 8-0 run to take their first lead of the night and entered halftime with a two-point advantage, 33-31.
The Broncos came out of the half blazing, using a 14-5 scoring run including three triples from Chibuzo Agbo to help reclaim the lead 45-36.
Boise State opened the half shooting 13-15 from the field, including nine-straight field goals over a four-minute stretch to blow the game open, 64-48 with 11 minutes to play.
The Rebels scored 12 of the game’s next 14 points to draw within six at the under-eight minute timeout, but the Broncos allowed just six points the remainder of the way to close out the 84-66 victory.
Agbo and Rice finished the game a combined 8-of-12 from behind the three-point line, while five Broncos reached double-figures for the second-straight game.
Boise State shot 71.4% (20-28) from the field and 61.5% (8-13) from three in the second half. Both marks rank as the best for Boise State in second halves this season.
Boise State vs. Wyoming
The Broncos had another great night on the road in Laramie, Wyoming as five Bronco players scored in double figures for the third-straight game.
Boise State men’s basketball put on an offensive show as they routed Wyoming 85-68 on Jan.14.
The Broncos were 50% from the field and put up 41 points in the first half making it the third time in the last four games the Broncos have scored 40-or-more in the opening 20 minutes.
Boise State started the third quarter with a 9-0 scoring run after three straight buckets from deep.
Marcus Shaver, Jr. had a night with 10 points, eight rebounds and nine assists. Chibuzo Agbo and Naje Smith both finished with 18 points.
Max Rice also had production as he went 7-10 from field goal range, and racked 17 points and five rebounds.