Things might look bad on the outside for Boise State basketball, but don’t tell that to junior swingman Chandler Hutchison.
After losing to Nevada 76-57 on Wednesday night in Taco Bell Arena, the Broncos (12-7, 5-3 Mountain West) have dropped three of their last four games and are in a three-way tie with Fresno State and Colorado State for third place in the conference.
Boise State trailed by three midway through the second half against Nevada, but gave up a 16-2 run.
Up next is a pair of tough tests at Wyoming (14-7, 4-4) at 4 p.m. Saturday, and at Colorado State (13-8, 5-3) at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The Cowboys are coming off a 66-65 win over UNLV and nearly beat USC in late December.
Despite the recent slide, Hutchison has faith in Boise State’s prospects going forward.
“We know we have a great team, and we still believe that. It gets tough sometimes down the stretch of the season. You knock off a couple. We’ve lost three of our last four,” Hutchison said. “But I know this team. We’re going to continue to keep getting better.”
First up are the Cowboys in Laramie, Wyo.
Wyoming is an anomaly on several statistical fronts. The Cowboys feature the second highest scoring offense in the conference (77.5 points per game) while shooting the second lowest field-goal percentage (42.3). Defensively, Wyoming has the ninth scoring defense (73.4), but the second best field-goal percentage defense (39.6).
The Cowboys are the best defensive rebounding team, but rank ninth in offensive rebounds. To top it off, Wyoming makes the second most 3-pointers per game (8.9) and shoots them at a 32.1 percent clip, ranking 10th.
Sophomore guard Justin James leads the Cowboys with 14.9 points per game, and junior forward Hayden Dalton scores 13.1 off the bench. Dalton also leads the team in rebounding, averaging 8.6 per game.
“It’s always tough to play down there,” Hutchison said. “They’re very good at what they do.”
As much as the Broncos are not trying to envision the bigger picture of the Mountain West race, the next two contests could go a long way in defining their season. The Broncos are not worried about their past, instead working to make sure the rest of their season doesn’t show more growing pains.
“With this young team, you have to have anticipated some bumps in the road. It’s never a direct line to the top,” Boise State head coach Leon Rice said. “There’s going to be some learning, there’s going to be some things we need to work through, and that’s where we are.”
NOTES: Wyoming leads the all-time series with Boise Stsate 13-8, but the Broncos swept last season. ... Boise State has won four of its last five road games, including three in conference play. ... The next home game is Feb. 4 against Utah State. Start time in Taco Bell Arena is 6 p.m.
Boise State (12-7, 5-3 MW) at Wyoming (14-7, 4-4)
- When: 4 p.m. Saturday
- Where: Arena-Auditorium (11,612), Laramie, Wyo.
- TV: Root Sports (Cable One 149/1149, DirecTV 683, Dish 414)
- Radio: KBOI 670 AM (Bob Behler and Abe Jackson). Fans can also listen to the game at BroncoSports.com.
Boise State women hope for bounce back after upset loss in Reno
The Broncos are hoping the friendly confines of Taco Bell Arena will help their recent woes.
Boise State (14-5, 4-4 Mountain West), fresh off a loss at Nevada (2-6, 8-11), host Mountain West co-leader Wyoming (15-4, 7-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday. The Broncos are 2-4 in their last six games and have lost four of five on the road. They are 10-1 at home .
Brooke Pahukoa leads Boise State with 14.1 points per game. Wyoming is led by Liv Roberts (15.8 points per game, 8.1 rebounds). The Cowgirls have the second best scoring defense in the conference, surrendering 53.7 points per game.
Fans attending the game are encouraged to wear blue, and tickets for those in blue will cost $3.