With the meat of Boise State’s nonconference schedule coming up next week, the Broncos devoured the last of their appetizers Friday night.
The men’s basketball team routed Presbyterian 82-56 at Taco Bell Arena, setting up two marquee showdowns.
The Broncos (3-2) play at No. 13 Oregon (4-2) on Monday (9 p.m., Pac-12 Network), then return home to face SMU (4-2) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
“We played some good teams in Charleston,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said about last week’s Charleston Classic in South Carolina. “Now you’ve got top 25-, top 10-, top 5-level teams. You’ve got to play flawless, you’ve got to let it rip and you’ve got to play fearless against a team like this on their home floor.”
Presbyterian (2-3), a South Carolina program which joined Division I in 2007, started the game packed in a 2-3 zone, and the Broncos struggled to take advantage early. But Boise State finished the half 7-for-17 behind the 3-point line to build a 44-22 halftime lead on the Blue Hose.
The Broncos quickly extended that lead to 30 points after halftime.
Freshman guard Justinian Jessup poured in a game-high 20 points, shooting 6-of-10 from the field and 3-for-5 behind the 3-point line. The high in his previous four games was 12 points.
“It’s really a difficult thing to come in as a freshman and start right away,” sophomore forward David Wacker said. “I think he’s handling that as best as anybody can and is taking the momentum throughout the season.”
The matchup with Oregon, which was ranked No. 5 in the preseason Associated Press poll, has lost some of its luster as the Ducks have struggled early in the season without junior forward Dillon Brooks. Monday’s game will be his fourth back in the lineup after a July surgery on his left foot. The preseason AP All-American — a first in Oregon history — has yet to start.
Boise State beat Oregon 74-72 in Boise last year. The Ducks went on to reach the Elite Eight.
Next home game: SMU in Boise on Wednesday
The Broncos follow their Oregon trip with their biggest nonconference home game of the season.
The Mustangs have won 25 or more games each of the past three years. But the NCAA barred the American Athletic program from postseason play in 2016 after an academic fraud scandal, and coach Larry Brown resigned in July as part of a contract dispute.
SMU returns three players who averaged 10 or more point last season, and added a Duke transfer in Semi Ojeleye.
“I think the SMU game is going to be huge and all of Bronco Nation will turn out for that,” Boise State forward Wacker said.