Reclaiming the Top Spot: Max Rice leads Boise State men’s basketball in 77-62 win over Nevada

Courtesy of Boise State Athletics, photo by Tyler McFarland

Boise State reclaimed the top spot in the Mountain West rankings after defeating Nevada 77-62 at ExtraMile Arena on Jan. 17. 

Senior guard Max Rice accounted for 37% of the Broncos’ offense with 29 points (with 21 coming in the first half) in a night that will go down in the record books. 

After beginning the first half by knocking down the first eight points, Rice shot 10-14 from the field (71%) and an outstanding 6-7 from downtown.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been hot,” Rice said. “My teammates did a really good job finding me after I hit a couple, and it just started stringing them together and once you hit a couple I think the basket looks a lot bigger for you.’’

Rice has been coming into his own throughout the season and his breakout night against Nevada was something special. 

It wasn’t just Rice’s 29-point effort that brought the Broncos to a successful win. Tyson Degenhart, Chibuzo Agbo and Naje Smith had a spectacular night of production as well. 

Smith had 12 points and eight rebounds, accompanied by Degenhart’s 15 points and six boards. Agbo scored 10 points, making it his 10th-straight game scoring in double figures.

Although many of the Broncos have shined on the court, a player that many suspected to be amongst the best of the season, Marcus Shaver Jr., has been underwhelming. 

With just five points on the night, Shaver is averaging 6.4 points on the season. 

Despite being one of the stars on the 2022 Mountain West championship team, there is little to show for Shaver’s production on the court so far. 

The likes of Smith, Degenhart, Agbo and Rice have quickly overshadowed the fifth-year guard. 

As the Broncos stormed past Nevada, a team who is talented and well rounded, to take over the number one spot in the Mountain West, the Broncos put in the utmost effort for the win. 

“We beat a very good team tonight,” said head coach Leon Rice. “I’m proud of our guys. This league is a grind, and we came with it tonight. We had great intensity for 40 minutes and beat a very good team.”

After being handed a 74-72 loss against Nevada on Dec. 28, 2022, to start conference play, the growth and development of the Broncos squad is prominent.  

“We didn’t start conference play the way we wanted to against Nevada, but we clawed our way back and now we’re tied for first,” Degenhart said. “We just have to keep improving day by day so we can hold up that trophy at the end of the season.”

[Chibuzo Agbo (left) and Max Rice (right) compete against Nevada in ExtraMile Arena on Jan. 17.]
Courtesy of Boise State Athletics, photo by Tyler McFarland

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