In one way, Nick Duncan plays smaller than he is. But his shooting prowess somehow has at the same time made him seem taller.
Boise State’s 6-foot-8 junior forward has a well-earned reputation as a nightmare matchup for opposing coaches, often guarding a team’s tallest player, yet being able to make centers quite uncomfortable by pulling them out toward the 3-point line.
On Monday, Arizona coach Sean Miller called Duncan “one of the great shooters in the game.” He got to see it up close in the Wildcats’ 88-76 win in Tucson, with Duncan’s 21 points providing a nice 1-2 punch with fellow junior forward James Webb III’s 27.
“Part of what’s so difficult in dealing with (Webb) is that he has a partner who’s like a 6-foot-10 2-guard who can shoot 3s but is guarded by your center. ... The lane opens up no matter how much you don’t want it to,” Miller said.
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Duncan is one of four Broncos scoring in double figures, averaging 13.0 points per game, hitting 9-of-22 3-pointers (40.9 percent). He’s played all but 10 minutes in Boise State’s three games, logging 16 more minutes than any Bronco. Against Arizona, he made 5-of-11 3-pointers in 39 minutes.
“He can shoot, everybody knows that,” Webb said. “We tried to get him open shots because he was feeling it.”
Duncan, a career 39.4 percent 3-point shooter, may not notch the 37 minutes he’s been averaging Monday against Division II Concordia (Ore.), but will no doubt continue to get his chance to put up points. Boise State is 15-4 when he scores in double figures.
“When he’s playing well and making those shots, it’s a hard matchup, when your (center) can shoot like that and not just shoot, but be the best shooter on the team, really, it’s a hard matchup, so non-traditional it’s not really something you can practice against,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said.
Concordia (1-2) at Boise State (1-2)
7 p.m. Monday, Taco Bell Arena
TV: None (stream at BroncoSports.com/videos)
Radio: KBOI 670 AM
Tickets: $7-$18 for juniors, $8-$19 for seniors, $9-$20 for adults at Taco Bell Arena box office, BroncoSports.com/tickets or via phone at 426-4737. Tickets are $5 at the door with non-perishable food item donation.