Bronco men looking to limit lulls

Boise State has seen recent opponents shoot well in the second half.

dsouthorn@idahostatesman.comNovember 29, 2013 

  • PORTLAND STATE (4-1) AT BOISE STATE (5-0)

    When: 6 p.m. today

    Radio: 670 AM

    Tickets: $6 for both the men's and women's game (3:30 p.m. vs. Idaho State) if fans arrive before halftime of the women's game.

    • For men's game only, $8-$11.75 plus fees, at Taco Bell Arena box office or via phone (426-4737).

    Records: Boise State is 5-0; Portland State is 4-1.

    Series: Boise State leads 13-10; Broncos won 69-62 in Boise on Dec. 21, 2009, in last meeting.

    Notable: Both the Broncos (plus-4.6) and the Vikings (plus-3.8) are in the top 50 nationally in turnover margin per game.

    Boise State's tripleheader $29 ticket promotion, details S5

There isn't much to nitpick about Boise State's 5-0 start, but as coach Leon Rice said after Wednesday's 98-89 win over Idaho, "you're always going to have things you have to improve on."

If there is one common thread for the Broncos, it is trying to overcome the desire to hit cruise control once up big. Including last Saturday's win over New Orleans, the Privateers and Vandals combined to shoot 34-of-54 in the second half, a 63 percent clip.

It wasn't a problem at New Orleans, as Boise State's offense kept a big lead intact, but Idaho whittled a 23-point lead to five with less than a minute to go.

"You're fighting human nature, and we're not very good at fighting human nature right now," Rice said. "That's something we've got to get better at."

Boise State has led by at least 20 in the second half of every game this season. It has at times led to a lapse in energy on defense with the game seemingly in hand, including Wednesday when Idaho was 19-of-30 from the field in the final 20 minutes.

"We just stopped playing defense with intensity and let them creep back into the game," Boise State guard Derrick Marks said.

If the Broncos can play with intensity for 40 minutes Friday, that would make Rice plenty happy, considering the Portland State Vikings come to town with Boise State coming off a rivalry win and only one day - Thanksgiving - in between.

"I knew this was going to be a big, big challenge, because you're playing your rival, an emotional game always, now you've got to turn around and play a 4-1 team," Rice said.

Portland State won four straight after losing at UNLV in its season opener. Four Vikings are averaging at least 12 points per game.

"It's all about recovery, recovering quickly from a win or a loss, and we've got to do that," Rice said.

TRIPLEHEADER FRIDAY AT BOISE STATE

In addition to the men's basketball game at 6 p.m., the women's basketball team plays Idaho State at 3:30 p.m. at Taco Bell Arena, and the volleyball team hosts Nevada at 8 p.m. in Bronco Gym.

• Women's basketball: Boise State (2-3) and Idaho State (2-3) meet for the 67th time (Broncos lead series 46-20). Fans can get into both basketball games for $6 (everyone) if they arrive before the start on the second half of the women's game. Those arriving after halftime will pay full ticket prices for the men's game.

• Volleyball: The Broncos (13-16, 7-12 MW) close out the regular season by honoring seniors Casey Rose and Sarah Horton in a pre-match ceremony. Tickets cost $6 for adults and $4 for seniors (62 years of age and older) and youth (2 to 18 years of age). Parking: For fans wanting to attend only the volleyball match, free parking is available in the Lincoln Parking Garage.

• Four games/$29 ticket promotion: The package includes a ticket to the men's basketball game, the women's basketball game, the volleyball match and Saturday's football game against New Mexico (8:21 p.m., Bronco Stadium). The basketball games are considered one event and require just one ticket for both games. Taco Bell Arena has a no-re-entry policy for basketball games.

Dave Southorn: 377-6420, Twitter: @IDS_southorn

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