The Boise State men’s basketball team started off their conference schedule late in December. After amassing a 10-2 out-of-conference record, the Broncos took on Colorado State on Dec. 27 at the Taco Bell Arena. Boise State won the game 93-71 behind senior guard Chandler Hutchison’s 24 points. Boise State also had four other players in double digits: senior forward Chris Sengfelder (13), redshirt junior forward Zach Haney (12), sophomore guard Marcus Dickinson (16) and sophomore guard Alex Hobbs (16).
Boise State outshot Colorado State 54 percent to 41 percent from the floor and scored 27 points off of 13 Rams’ turnovers.
“They were the difference-makers, to be honest,” Dickinson said of the fans. “We had more today than we’ve had all year. Believe it or not, they make a difference. We can feel their energy.”
After defeating Colorado State, Boise State traveled to Las Vegas on Dec. 30 to take on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).
Hutchison led the team in scoring again with 32 points. He also recorded another double-double on the season by snagging 12 rebounds. Haney was the only other player in double figures with his 11 points, but this was enough to defeat UNLV 83-74.
“At the end of the day, we lost to a really good team that out-toughed us in more than one area, especially from the rebounding side,” UNLV head coach Marvin Menzies said. “That jumps out at me as being an obvious area of concern for tonight. We’ll see if it’s a pattern or not going forward, and we’ll try to make the adjustments.”
Boise State out-rebounded UNLV 48 to 29.
After defeating UNLV, the Broncos came back home to play New Mexico on Jan. 3. Sophomore guard Justinian Jessup led the team in scoring with 23 points as he shot five of seven from three point. Boise State defeated New Mexico 90-62. Besides Jessup, the Broncos had four other players score in the double digits: Hutchison (17), Hobbs (18), Haney (10) and redshirt senior guard Lexus Williams (11).
Boise State shot 59 percent to 35 percent for New Mexico and had a 45-25 rebounding edge.
“I think we are doing a good job of humbling ourselves knowing that ‘Yeah, we’re on this path, but we all see a bigger picture,’” Hobbs said. “We want that championship, so we know every day we’ve got to just keep coming in and getting better as a team.”
Boise State head coach Leon Rice said he believes his team has a fun style of play after the game against New Mexico.
“It’s a fun style to play, and they like playing it,” Rice said. “They’re so unselfish, all of them, and that’s what’s great about coaching this team is you don’t ever have to worry or think about any of that. They’re going to make the right plays for the love of their teammates, and sometimes they’re over-unselfish.”
After starting out 3-0 in conference, Boise State traveled to Wyoming on Jan. 6. The Broncos were leading the game by 16 at half time but lost 79-78 in overtime. Hutchison lead the team with 27 points, and Haney added an additional 15.
Boise State had a chance to win the game at the end, but Hutchison’s last second shot didn’t fall in after what appeared to be heavy contact.
“I think refs, especially when they are on the road, are a little hesitant to make a call there at the end, but I’ll look at the film to be fair and see what happened,” Rice told the Bronco Radio Network. “There was a lot of contact in there, a lot of bodies flying around. It looked like he got clobbered, but I couldn’t tell.”
Boise State’s defense struggled to stop Wyoming’s senior forward Hayden Dalton, who scored 29 points and got 12 rebounds
This loss brought Boise State’s record to 13-3 and 3-1 in conference. Boise State is still second in the Mountain West conference, behind only Nevada, which is still undefeated in conference play.
Boise State’s next game is Tuesday, Jan. 9 against Fresno State in Fresno. The game tips-off at 9 p.m. and can be seen on ESPNU.