The Boise State men’s basketball team has used the same starting lineup the past 14 games.
That streak may come to an end Wednesday night when the Broncos host San Jose State at 8 p.m. (AT&T SportsNet/ROOT) in Taco Bell Arena.
The Broncos (16-4, 6-2 MW) are coming off their worst performance from beyond the arc in nearly two years, and coach Leon Rice suggested Tuesday that a change to the lineup might be in order.
“I’m not afraid to mix it around a little bit. I think that’s helping when you change things up a little bit,” Rice said. “It kind of maybe takes pressure off guys, and maybe for some guys it pushes their buttons the right way.”
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Boise State shot just 14.3 percent (3-for-21) from 3-point range in a 74-68 loss at first-place Nevada on Saturday. Senior Chris Sengfelder made two 3-pointers in the first few minutes of the game, and then the Broncos went 1-for-18 the rest of the way. Sophomore Justinian Jessup, who leads the Broncos in 3-point percentage (.448) and 3s per game (2.8), failed to connect from deep for the first time this season.
“(Jessup’s) ball has to start going through the rim for us to be good. Right now, he’s not seeing a big enough basket,” Rice told the Bronco Radio Network after Saturday’s game.
Jessup came off the bench the first five games of the season before swapping spots with fellow sophomore and roommate Alex Hobbs. The two may flip-flop again Wednesday against the Spartans (3-15, 0-7), as Hobbs has come on strong in conference play. Through eight Mountain West games, Hobbs ranks second on the team in points (11.3) and first in assists (3.3) while shooting 51.4 percent from the field.
“We are looking at different things, and Alex has been playing great,” Rice said. “Who knows? We’ll kind of just go through practice, see what we like, see what’s working. I don’t care if it’s February or whatever, we’re going to still look to better this team.”
Rice harps on turnovers
After a few days of reflection, Rice cited turnovers as one of his major concerns after the Nevada game.
The Broncos committed 15 turnovers against Nevada and now rank second-to-last in the Mountain West in turnover margin (-2.20) and ninth in assist-to-turnover ratio (0.95).
“One of the biggest things we’ve been hitting them on is turnovers,” Rice said. “There’s some teams that maybe turn the ball over more than other teams obviously, and you don’t want to stifle any creativity, but we can eliminate a bunch of turnovers.”
Rice said the elimination of turnovers — or the inability to eliminate turnovers — could play a decisive role in the level of team the Broncos become over the remainder of the season.
What do BSU, No. 12 Oklahoma have in common?
Boise State sophomore Marcus Dickinson and Oklahoma standout freshman Trae Young played basketball together at North Norman High in Norman, Okla.
“We don’t talk as much as we used to. If we do talk, it’s just telling each other how proud we are,” Dickinson said. “He’s doing unbelievable in games. He’s my little brother. He’s always been my little brother, and I really respect what he’s doing. He’s a great person.”
Young scored a career-high 48 points in a loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday. The guard went 14-for-39 from the floor, including 8-for-20 from 3-point range, in the game. His 39 field-goal attempts and the 20 from deep were the most in Big 12 history, according to Sports Illustrated.
“Honestly, everybody is shocked about that, but playing with him in high school ... you understand it’s nothing new,” Dickinson said. “He’s one of the best shooters in the nation, and his feel for the game is unbelievable.”
BSU women on the road
The Boise State women have played particularly well away from home this season, going 5-1 in true road games.
The Broncos will try to maintain that trend at San Jose State on Wednesday (8 p.m. MT, 1350 AM).
Boise State (11-8, 5-3) is 19-11 all-time against the Spartans (6-12, 3-4), including victories in their last six meetings.