UPDATE: The Boise State men’s basketball team plays Iowa State in the championship game of the relocated Puerto Rico Tip-off on Sunday in Conway, S.C.
The game begins at 5:30 p.m. MT and will be broadcast on ESPN2.
The Broncos (4-0) never have won a mid-season, three-game tournament.
“What a great opportunity for our guys. That’s what we came here to do, and we’re 40 minutes away,” Boise State coach Leon Rice told KTIK 1350 AM. “The nice thing is you get a day off to prep. I think our guys could go out and play right now. They’re excited to play. We’ll be ready to go on Sunday.”
The last time the Broncos played in a championship game in a mid-season tournament was the 2014 Las Vegas Classic, where the Broncos fell to Loyola of Chicago 48-45.
Iowa State (2-2) has won three of the last four Big 12 Tournament championships, including last March, and qualified for the NCAA Tournament six years in a row.
Read more about Boise State’s semifinal win below:
The Boise State men’s basketball team will play for the Puerto Rico Tip-off championship after manhandling Illinois State 82-64 on Friday afternoon at the HTC Center in Conway, S.C.
On the heels of a rough shooting outing in the Broncos’ tournament opener against UTEP, senior Chandler Hutchison posted the 12th double-double of his career with 19 points and a career-high 18 rebounds. He also added five assists, and his 14 defensive rebounds set a tournament record.
“I feel like I am so hard on myself. I still feel like I haven’t played great yet,” Hutchison told KTIK 1350 AM after the game. “But with that being said, I tried to come out here and lead this team on how aggressive I was early, because I’ve noticed that they’re going to go as I go.
“If I have that mentality, then some of the younger guys can see that, and then get that mindset to be aggressive and to go attack.”
The Broncos (4-0) play Iowa State in the championship game at 5:30 p.m. Sunday on ESPN2. The Cyclones (2-2) beat Tulsa 80-78 in Friday’s other semifinal.
“We’re excited to have that opportunity to play in the championship. What a great opportunity. That’s why we came here,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. “We’re fortunate to be there, but I was pretty excited about the basketball we played today and we’ll enjoy that for the rest of the day and be ready to go get our prep going tomorrow with the day off and be ready to go on Sunday.”
Hutchison scored 10 of Boise State’s first 17 points as the Broncos built a double-digit lead only six minutes into the first half by holding the Redbirds to 20 percent shooting from the floor and just 10.5 percent from 3-point range.
“We’re so good when we’re a good defensive team, when we have a game where our defense leads the offense,” Hutchison told KTIK. “We just wanted to be active.”
Justinian Jessup (13 points), Alex Hobbs (10) and Christian Sengfelder (10) also reached double figures as Boise State led by as many as 33 points in a game where Illinois State was a 2.5-point favorite.
The Broncos outrebounded the Redbirds 57-27, including 20 offensive rebounds that led to 19 points. Their 57 boards ties the tournament single-game record for most rebounds by a team.
“To outrebound someone by 30, that’s one of those wild moments,” Rice said.
The Redbirds (1-2) went 28-7 last season and won the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title. Friday was the first meeting between Boise State and Illinois State, although the two programs were in the same bracket of the 2017 NIT.
“Sometimes an 18-point win is like, ‘Oh, it was a lot closer than the score.’ This wasn’t as close as the score,” Rice told KTIK. “It was a dominating effort by our guys.”