Boise State Basketball

Boise State hoops learns to play without its star — and might have to again Saturday

Boise State guard Lexus Williams takes the ball to the hoop against Southern Utah’s Christian Musoko at Taco Bell Arena.
Boise State guard Lexus Williams takes the ball to the hoop against Southern Utah’s Christian Musoko at Taco Bell Arena. doswald@idahostatesman.com

The Boise State men’s basketball team went to the locker room Sunday facing an 18-point deficit and knowing star Chandler Hutchison was out the rest of the game.

The break gave the Broncos time to realize that they could compete even without Hutchison — and they responded by outscoring Iowa State by seven points in the second half and pulling within four points in the final 2 minutes. Iowa State eventually won 75-64.

Boise State (4-1) may have to use lessons learned that night when it meets Loyola Marymount (3-1) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Taco Bell Arena.

It’s uncertain whether Hutchison, who was placed in concussion protocol, will play.

“Sometimes I think guys forget how good they are because they’ve got a really, really good one next to them,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. “We had a great second half once we regrouped and kind of got our minds right and decided we’re a darn good team.”

Graduate transfers Chris Sengfelder (14 points) and Lexus Williams (13) led the Broncos through that second half. Williams never left the court.

Hutchison was active on the bench in the second half, and that helped the Broncos bounce back, Williams said.

“When he was gone away (with the training staff), off the bench, that’s when they made their run,” he said.

Hutchison hit his head hard on the court early in the first half. He stayed in the game briefly. Rice, who said he didn’t see the play, kept an eye on Hutchison to see if he could tell if there was a problem, then decided to pull him. The trainers made the decision that Hutchison couldn’t return, Rice said.

He wouldn’t say whether Hutchison has practiced or could play Saturday.

“We just want to do what’s best for him,” Rice said.

Ticket deals

Boise State already has 6,000 tickets out for the Loyola Marymount game but there are still a couple deals available. Tickets will be sold for $7 on Black Friday through BroncoSports.com only, and you can get a voucher for a free ticket at Treasure Valley Taco Bell locations.

Busy schedule

The Broncos also play at home at 7 p.m. Tuesday against Loyola (Chicago), one of the better non-conference games on the schedule; Dec. 1 at Oregon; and Dec. 3 at home against Portland (2 p.m.). That’s four games in nine days. Loyola was picked to finish third in the competitive Missouri Valley Conference.

Thanksgiving with coach

The Broncos will spend Thanksgiving at Rice’s house. The coaches’ wives prepare the meal.

Chadd Cripe: 208-377-6398, @chaddcripe

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