It was a great day to be a Bronco sports fan on Saturday, Dec. 7. After the Boise State football team took home the Mountain West Championship on the iconic “smurf turf,” the men’s basketball team took the court Saturday night at ExtraMile Arena.
In a very entertaining matchup that displayed prolific shooting by senior guard Justinian Jessup, the Broncos defeated the Colorado State Rams 75-64 for their first Mountain West Conference win of the season. After losing to New Mexico by two points on Dec. 4, Boise State took care of business on their home court.
Thanks to four Colorado State turnovers to open the game, the Broncos jumped out to an early 13-5 advantage, forcing the Rams to utilize their first timeout of the opening half.
Coming out of the first timeout, the Broncos committed three turnovers themselves, which allowed the Rams to cut the deficit to 21-19.
Colorado State was able to capitalize on Boise State’s mistakes with four made 3-pointers on the offensive end, forcing the Broncos to call two timeouts to regroup on the defensive end.
In a first half that featured both teams exchanging baskets most of the way, Boise State proved just how deep and talented their roster is.
The Broncos were spreading the ball around well, finding their big men underneath the basket and shooting guards behind the arc, which eventually translated into many productive possessions on offense.
Heading into the break, the Rams led the Broncos 33-32.
Coming out of the locker room, it became pretty clear what the Broncos’ game plan was at halftime: get the ball to Jessup.
To start the second half trailing by one point, Boise State was firing on all cylinders from long range, including a stretch of seven consecutive made 3-pointers, five of which came from Jessup.
“This team, we can do that,” said Boise State head coach Leon Rice. “We made up for the 14% that we had in the first half by shooting 57% in the second half.”
In fact, after Jessup made his fifth 3-pointer in a row, the entire arena got on their feet to give Jessup a standing ovation.
“It’s awesome, that’s how you leave a legacy here,” Alston said. “[Jessup] comes in here every day and has just worked his tail off to get to where he’s at.”
Despite the 3-pointers from Boise State’s sharpshooter, the Rams were able to stay in the game. After a strong first half shooting the ball for Colorado State, they went cold for the rest of the game. In the second half, the Rams shot 37% from the field and converted just three of 15 3-point attempts.
Jessup finished with a game-high and career-high 27 points, as well as a career-high in 3-pointers made with seven. Alston added his second double-double of the season, finishing with 20 points and 11 rebounds.
In addition to finishing with seven three-pointers, Jessup moved up to No. 3 in program history for three-pointers made (254) at Boise State.
“[Jessup] is just getting better and better and it’s a great accomplishment,” Rice said. “He’s picking them off one by one, and it’s neat to see.”
With their conference preview week complete, the Broncos (5-3) will travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma to face the University of Tulsa (7-2) on Wednesday, Dec. 11. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. MT and the game will be televised on ESPN3.