Drew Wiley continued his hot outside shooting and the Boise State Broncos had five players in double figures as they easily bested Idaho State 79-55 Monday night at Taco Bell Arena. Wiley made four 3-pointers in the 1st half as he led the Broncos with 14 points on 5-9 shooting from the field.
Thomas Bropleh and Anthony Drmic scored 11 points apiece and Jeff Elorriaga and Igor Hadziomerovic chipped in with 10 each for the Broncos. Kenny Buckner added nine points and a team-high seven rebounds and senior point guard Wes Perryman led the Broncos with five assists to go with three rebounds and a pair of blocked shots.
Boise State shot only 44% from the field, far from their best effort, but used their hustle to secure 13 offensive rebounds while the defense forced 16 Bengal turnovers. The Broncos out-rebounded Idaho State 32-19 for the game and made it to the free throw line 28 times to the Bengals’ 16 free throw attempts.
Chase Grabau led the Bengals with 12 points and Kenny McGowen was the only other Idaho State player in double figures with 10.
The teams traded baskets for much of the first seven minutes of the game before Wiley got hot from 3-point range, hitting four straight from long range before missing his final attempt of the half. The Broncos led 36-25 at the break.
The Broncos went on a 10-0 run to start the 2nd half to stretch the lead to 21 points before the Bengals were able to get back on the board on a layup by McGowen. That spurt was followed by another 11-3 run by the Broncos that gave Boise State a comfortable 27-point cushion with 13:48 remaining.
Boise State ultimately opened up a lead of 33 points with under four minutes remaining before the Bengals scored 10 in a row in the final minutes.
The win moves the Broncos to 7-1 on the season and they have won all four games of the current home stand with one game remaining, Wednesday night against Portland State. Boise State has yet to lose at home this season but has just two games remaining at Taco Bell Arena before Mountain West Conference play starts.
After their game against the Vikings on Wednesday, the Broncos will have five of their next six games on the road, including trips to LSU and Iowa. One of the “road” games is a New Years Eve afternoon contest with Idaho that is scheduled for noon at the Idaho Center in Nampa.
The Broncos are off to a 7-1 start through eight games for the first time since 2008-09 and hope to continue their success through the rest of the non-conference schedule. Last season, Boise State opened 6-0 before dropping four consecutive games by a combined total of 11 points. They have already matched last season’s non-conference win total and have bigger goals in mind as they prepare for the Mountain West Conference season.
The Mountain West has a trio of probable NCAA tournament teams in UNLV, New Mexico and San Diego State. Wyoming is also off to an excellent start at 8-1, although they have played a very weak schedule thus far. All eight Mountain West schools have winning records in non-conference play although few have played very challenging schedules to this point, including Boise State.
New Mexico has a pair of wins over Pac-12 schools with one more remaining against USC this Saturday. San Diego State has a trio of wins over the Pac-12 including two against teams that were ranked in the top 25 at the time. The most impressive win on any Mountain West resume thus far is UNLV’s upset of then-#1 North Carolina last week. The Rebels then stumbled against Wichita State, losing by 19 points to end their undefeated streak at eight games.
Needless to say, the Mountain West is very strong again this season and there won’t be any nights off for the Broncos. Picked to finish 8th in the conference, most teams felt that Boise State might be the night off they were looking for but to this point, that would be incorrect.
These Broncos approach the game in a tenacious manner and are developing an identity as a team that can shoot, rebound, play tough defense and out-hustle anyone. Their lack of size may hurt them at times and Perryman is not a traditional distributing point guard but their balance can only help as they get further into the season. Last year’s squad leaned so heavily on La’Shard Anderson that if he was off, they had very little chance to win.
This year, the ball is being spread around and the opposing defenses have to respect all five players on the floor. The most intriguing aspect of this team has been its rebounding. While they are not statistically superior, ranking 165th in the country in this young season, they are out-rebounding their opponents by over nine per game. They are also effective at winning the battle of possessions, forcing six more turnovers per game than they are committing.
The Broncos have played one of the weaker schedules in the country through eight games so their record is to be expected. However, they are outscoring their opponents by 24 points per game while shooting a blistering 43% from 3-point range. These statistics will go a long way towards having a successful campaign in their first foray into the Mountain West Conference. Don’t be surprised to see Boise State shock a few teams along the way.