One week after an epic comeback victory, the Boise State Broncos men’s basketball had another goal in mind this week: pick up their first conference road victory of the season.
The Broncos (13-8, 5-4) had one of their best overall games in recent memory, playing well on both ends of the floor in routing the Fresno State Bulldogs 87-53.
Four of the five starters for Boise State finished with double digits in points, led by Abu Kigab. The junior had 23, with 14 coming in the second half. Kigab was 4-6 from 3-point range, going 3-3 from deep in the first half.
Senior Justinian Jessup was up next with 19, followed by Derrick Alston Jr. and RJ Williams each scoring 14 points as the Broncos combined to shoot 50 percent (14-28) from beyond the arc.
Nine of the ten players who saw action scored for the Boise State Broncos, including Riley Abercrombie, who hit two 3’s down the stretch.
It was a complete team effort from start to finish for the Broncos. Boise State shot 54.2 percent from the field, held a plus nine advantage on the boards, dished out 19 assists and committed only 11 turnovers.
The Broncos also forced 19 turnovers, leading to 31 points.
Two big home games await the Broncos this upcoming week, starting with San Jose State (7-14, 3-6) on Wednesday. Tip is set for 7 pm (MT).
Jessup’s stellar first-half
Both teams struggled to find a rhythm during the game’s early minutes. Boise State had turnovers on three of their first four possessions while Fresno State missed a couple of easy shots.
Still, it was the Bulldogs who took the early lead, going up 7-3. The Broncos took their first lead at 8-7 thanks to Williams. The senior was fouled, making the bucket and ensuing free throw to put the Broncos up 9-7.
Minutes later, Fresno State’s Noah Blackwell put the Bulldogs back up 11-9 with a three. Jessup followed it up with his second three of the game and the Broncos were back in front.
At the 11:49 mark, the Broncos were down 14-12 and only shooting 33 percent from the field.
After the media timeout, Williams tied the score and, after a Bulldog missed shot, Kigab delivered a three. The Broncos were up 17-14 and it was a lead they would never relinquish.
The Williams basket started a 13-0 run as Fresno State went nearly six minutes without scoring. The lead would grow as large as 13, but the Bulldogs were able to cut it to 35-26 at the break.
Jessup was simply in a zone in the first half, scoring 16 points on 6-10 shooting (4-7 from three-point range).
Blackwell was the main reason Fresno State was still in it, scoring 14 first-half points.
Boise State Broncos domination
Two free throws by Orlando Robinson closed the gap to seven with 29 seconds elapsed in the half. At 35-28, it looked as if we might be in for a fight.
That was as close Fresno State would get the rest of the game.
A Kigab basket and Jessup three pushed the lead back to 12. A three by Marcus Dickinson a few minutes later made it 47-32.
Five straight points by the Bulldogs saw the lead shrink to 10 but the Broncos reeled off a 9-0 run with baskets by Alston and Robin Jorch. Fresno State went another nearly eight minutes without a field goal, connecting on free throws now and again, as the Broncos continued to build their lead.
Boise State held Fresno State to 35 percent shooting in the second half. Fresno State actually made more free throws (13) than field goals (7) in the second half.
Jessup led the Broncos with eight rebounds while Williams had five. Williams also had four assists, trailing RayJ Dennis and Alston, who each had five.
Blackwell was held scoreless in the second half for the Bulldogs, but still led the team with 14 points. No other Fresno State player finished in double figures.