Winners of seven straight games, the Boise State Broncos men’s basketball team is on a roll as the calendar flips to 2021.
Not only are the Broncos (7-1, 3-0) winning — and winning big — they are performing well in all aspects of the game. Simply ask the New Mexico Lobos and San Jose State Spartans.
The Spartans (1-5, 0-3) were the latest foe to fall to Boise State’s balanced play, a 106-54 victory for the Broncos on New Year’s Eve. Derrick Alston, Jr led the way with 23 points, marking the fourth-straight game — and fifth overall this season — in which he’s scored 20 or more.
All told, six Broncos finished in double figures in points and 11 players found the scoring column against San Jose State. Marcus Shaver, Jr was next up with 18 while Emmanuel Akot and RayJ Dennis each had 13.
Abu Kigab finished with a double-double, notching 12 points and 14 rebounds.
After a slow shooting start from the field, Boise State ended up hitting 48 percent from the floor. They held San Jose State to a ice-cold 23.8 percent. The Spartans only connected on 3-26 from deep while the Broncos were 11-32.
Boise State was even perfect from the free throw line, shooting 25-25.
In the last decade, there have only been 8 instances in college hoops where a team has shot 1.000% from the FT line on at least 25 attempts.#BoiseState is the only program to do it twice in that span.
— Jay Tust (@KTVBSportsGuy) January 1, 2021
Boise State Broncos: Cohesive and exciting
Complete team efforts have been the norm for the Boise State Broncos during the win streak. This after they struggled in multiple areas against the currently fifth-ranked Houston Cougars in the season-opener. There were 11 missed free throws in the 10-point loss. Turnovers were a problem as well, along with a poor shooting night (1-16) from beyond the arc. (Houston lost a heartbreaker to Tulsa earlier this week, so the Cougars could likely fall in the rankings.)
One thing that has been constant for the Broncos this season is a stingy effort on the defensive end. They’ve only allowed over 60 points just once aside from the Houston game, a 74-70 win over BYU. In holding opponents to 57.5 points per game, the Broncos are also forcing 17.1 turnovers per game. Teams are also shooting only 35.7 percent against Boise State through eight games.
On offense, the Broncos are averaging 80.8 points per game. While this number has been aided by two games against College of Idaho, Boise State is balanced and deep on the offensive end. They are shooting 47.2 percent and committing 11.8 turnovers. One of the best things developing is the team’s willingness to share the ball, averaging 15.8 assists per game.
They can hurt you from deep and have become adept at mid-range floaters and jumpers, something that doesn’t happen as much in today’s game.
Individually, it is Alston leading the way for Boise State. Things have also become incrementally better for the redshirt senior as the season has progressed, especially after an innocuous start against Houston.
Alston was 0-6 in that game and did not score.
Since then, he’s been the leading scorer, averaging 17.6 points per game on the season. Alston is shooting 48.5 percent from the field and has knocked down 21 three-pointers. Alston has also upped is game on the defensive end, collecting two steals in each of the last three games.
Four other players are averaging double figures in points, including Dennis (13 ppg). He is shooting 51.9 percent on the season and is logging a team-high 33 minutes per game. Dennis has been impressive in only turning the ball over 13 times while dishing out 35 assists.
Dennis also has 16 steals.
Though he’s only played in five games, Shaver is proving to be a valuable scorer (13.6 ppg). A valuable scorer in the second unit has been hit-and-miss in recent seasons for the Broncos and Shaver provides exactly that. Though he was in the starting lineup before an injury sidelined him for three games, providing that punch off the bench might be his role for the immediate future.
There are plenty of scoring options, no matter where you look as Kigab (12.1 ppg) and Akot (10.2) are also averaging in double figures. Max Rice is also doing his part, averaging 9.6 points, including a career-high 22 against New Mexico.
Controlling the boards has been another positive this season for Boise State. They currently hold a +8 advantage per game on the season. Kigab is one of four Broncos averaging at least five rebounds per game and is second on the team with 5.6. It is Mladen Armus leading the way, pulling down 6.3 per game.
The Broncos have developed quite the team and should be even better when transfer guard Devonaire Doutrive takes the court. Doutrive became eligible after the fall semester ended but no update has been given as to his status.
Boise State will finish out the season series against San Jose State on Saturday. This game will take place at Grand Canyon University, with tip-off slated for 4:30 (MT) on FS1.