Road weary and on a three-game losing streak, the Boise State Broncos men’s basketball team was back at Taco Bell Arena on Saturday. And though they let Division II Central Washington hang around for most of the game, the Broncos — by time the final buzzer ended — found themselves back in the win column.
Boise State (3-5) outscored Central Washington 28-14 over the final 10:32 of the game in defeating the Wildcats 82-62 on Saturday afternoon in the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
Junior transfer RJ Williams was one of four Broncos to reach double figures in points, leading the team with 14. Alex Hobbs, playing in his first significant action since Boise State’s loss to Creighton, had 13 points off the bench.
Junior Justinian Jessup added 13 and sophomore Derrick Alston contributed 12 as all nine Broncos who saw playing time scored at least two points.
Sophomore forward Malcolm Cola led Central Washington (4-5) with 16 points. Junior guard Jeryn Lucas had 13, including three 3’s.
The Broncos had more rebounds (36-27) than the Wildcats and committed only eight turnovers to Central Washington’s 17.
Boise State began the first half knocking down nine of their first 12 shots and 11 of their first 15. Most of the scoring came inside the paint, with Williams and Zach Haney finding early buckets.
Still, the Wildcats hung around as Boise State could not stretch the lead past seven. A three by Wildcat freshman guard Marcus Austin tied the game at 25 with 8:58 left in the half.
Cola also kept Central Washington close with 10 first-half points, but he picked up his third foul with 6:25 remaining the half.
Boise State kept working the paint and, despite hitting only 2 of their last 14 shot attempts, took a 35-31 lead into the locker room.
Williams had 10 points at the half and Hobbs had 7.
Boise State came out firing, with a David Wacker layup followed by a Jessup three. This gave the Broncos a 40-31 lead a minute into the second half.
Central Washington went on a mini-run to bring the score within three at 42-39.
Boise State kept the score between five and nine before a Williams free throw with 7:35 finally gave the Broncos their first double-digit lead of the game.
Moments later Williams looked to have rolled his ankle on a layup attempt. He was helped to the bench and did not return.
Jessup, who finished with three 3’s, hit another a minute later. Marcus Dickinson and Alston would each add a made three down the stretch as Boise State was able to win going away.
Dickinson finished with eight points and six assists. Alston and Williams each led the team with six rebounds each.
Boise State continued to struggle at the line, hitting only 63.3 percent (19-30). They got to the charity stripe with ease against the smaller Wildcats and left too many points on the board.
Still, a victory is always a positive, especially for this young team comprised of mostly sophomores and juniors. Boise State will next be in action on Wednesday (12/12) when they host Alabama State at 7 pm (MT).