In a game that consisted of breaking records and lighting up the scoreboard, the Boise State men’s basketball team rolled past the Warriors of Life Pacific 126-49 at ExtraMile Arena on Tuesday night.
Unlike last year’s season opener, the Broncos were able to start their 2019-20 campaign on the right foot with a win against an inferior NAIA team from San Dimas, Calif.
After the opening tip-off, the Warriors managed to hit a 3-pointer to put them ahead right out of the gate, which proved to be Life Pacific’s only highlight of the night. After that bucket, Boise State never looked back and put on a show.
The Broncos went on several scoring runs in the first half, in one of which they scored 30 unanswered points. The Broncos ended the half with a 69-23 lead, the most points scored in a half for the Broncos since 1987.
Redshirt junior Derrick Alston and senior Justinian Jessup were on fire all night. They shot from all over the court, but were extremely impressive from behind the arc. Jessup finished the game with 19 points, going 4-7 from 3-point range. Alston ended the night with a game-high 25 points, adding four 3-pointers to his name, as well.
“We know offensively how good we can be,” Alston said. “Everyone was just playing their game and playing to our strengths.”
In a game that featured seven players scoring in double digits for Boise State, the Broncos ended the night breaking a school record for most points scored in a single game with 126. Boise State only managed to eclipse the 100-point mark once last season, which came in a 105-57 victory over San Jose State.
Senior forward RJ Williams joined in on the fun as well, pumping up his teammates with a plethora of flashy dunks on the offensive end and chase-down blocks on the defensive end.
“Playing around great guys makes my job 100% easier,” Williams said. “It’s comfortable and it’s natural. We do it in practice, so it will eventually show up in the game.”
Due to the wide spread in the score, head coach Leon Rice gave an opportunity for some of the younger players to showcase their skills late in the second half. Some new faces that Bronco fans saw quality minutes from were freshmen Rayj Dennis and Max Rice, Leon Rice’s son.
“I was just really proud of our guys, because in a game like that you’re playing against human nature and you’re playing against yourself,” Leon Rice said. “I wanted them to keep playing the right way and they did.”
Despite toughing it out against Life Pacific in their first preseason game of the season, Rice and the Broncos are very thin on their roster going forward, dealing with some key injuries and a few eligibility issues with recent transfers — juniors Emmanuel Akot and Abu Kigab.
Boise State’s schedule is looking much more competitive moving forward. For their next matchup, the Broncos will be traveling to Eugene to face-off with No. 15 Oregon this Saturday at 9 p.m. MT.
Just two years ago, the Broncos defeated the Ducks 73-70 on a last second buzzer-beater from beyond half court.
“We’re just taking an underdog role,” Alston said. “We’re going to have to go down there and scrap and play our hardest and make it a game.”