Boise State Basketball

Boise State plays defense with ‘discipline, fortitude’ for victory over Air Force

Senior Chris Sengfelder finished with a game-high 17 points, including three 3-pointers, in Boise State’s 76-52 win over Air Force on Saturday at Taco Bell Arena.
Senior Chris Sengfelder finished with a game-high 17 points, including three 3-pointers, in Boise State’s 76-52 win over Air Force on Saturday at Taco Bell Arena. Boise State Photo Services

The Air Force men’s basketball team received a standing ovation in recognition of the players’ service before the start of their game against Boise State on Saturday afternoon.

There wouldn’t be much to applaud for the Falcons the rest of the way.

Boise State went 14-for-28 from deep and clamped down defensively on Air Force for a 76-52 Mountain West Conference victory at Taco Bell Arena, improving to 21-6 overall and 11-4 in league play.

After losing back-to-back games for the first time this season, the Broncos pulled themselves out of a slump behind the arc to reach double digits in 3-pointers for the 14th time this season.

The Broncos shot just 23.8 percent from 3-point range in losses to Utah State and No. 24 Nevada.

“I think that’s when we’re best is when we can get the ball moving and get (the defense) in rotations a little bit,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. “The ball ends up with the right guy, the right shot and the right spot.”

Sophomore Justinian Jessup made five triples against the Falcons (10-15, 4-9 MW) to improve his season total to 75, which is the ninth-best single-season total in program history. He finished with 15 points, making 5 of his 8 3-point attempts (62.5 percent).

“I think I lost a little bit of my confidence, but my teammates and my coaches have my back,” Jessup said. “I just tried to go out there and play with more confidence today and just let it fly and good things happened.”

Rice was especially pleased with the Broncos’ defensive effort. Air Force’s 52 points is the second-lowest point total for a Boise State opponent this season and the fewest allowed by the Broncos in Mountain West play.

“It’s hard to guard (the Falcons). Part of their system is to wear you down, and you’ve got to guard for 30 seconds,” Rice said. “If you relax, boom, lay-in. If you relax, 3. So our guys had some discipline and some fortitude to be able to keep going.”

The Broncos never trailed in the game and led by as many as 27 points late in the second half, giving the Broncos’ reserves a chance to get on the court.

“I love to be able to do that,” Rice said. “They’ve earned it.”

Senior Chris Sengfelder notched a game-high 17 points, and Chandler Hutchison managed his 11th double-double of the season (11 points, 10 rebounds) in just 28 minutes. The Broncos had 19 assists — matching their second-highest total against a Division I opponent this season — as Hutchison, Alex Hobbs and Lexus Williams contributed four apiece.

“Chandler was a little banged up. His knee was a little bothered and then he banged knees at the start of the game,” Rice said. “To only play him 28 minutes, it’s valuable.”

Boise State next plays at Colorado State at 7 p.m. Wednesday (ESPNU), and the Broncos’ final home game of the season is Saturday, March 3, against Wyoming (5 p.m., AT&T SportsNet/ROOT).

“We’ve got a lot that we’re playing for and who knows what happens, who knows where it goes,” Rice said. “But these guys can do a lot of amazing and special things still.”

Women: Boise State 58, Air Force 47

Redshirt sophomore forward A’Shanti Coleman set career highs in points (16) and rebounds (9) to help Boise State beat Air Force for the ninth straight time Saturday in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Sophomore guard Riley Lupfer reached the triple-digit mark for 3-pointers, making three against the Falcons (2-23, 2-12 MW) to bring her season total to 100. The Mountain West single-season record is 110 set by Utah’s Iwalani Rodrigues during the 2010-11 season.

Lupfer, who matched a career high with seven boards, also brought her career 3-point total to 156, passing Jessica Thompson (2005-10) for sixth on Boise State’s all-time list.

The Broncos (17-9, 11-4 MW) return home to host Colorado State at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Taco Bell Arena.

Swimming & Diving repeats

Boise State wrapped up back-to-back Mountain West Championships, scoring 1,250 points overall to win by 144.5 points over second-place San Diego State on Saturday in San Antonio, Texas.

The final day of competition was highlighted by Abbey Sorensen’s win in the 200-yard backstroke and the 400-yard freestyle relay’s four-peat.

The Broncos have won six conference titles in the past nine years.

Rachel Roberts: 208-377-6422, @byrachelroberts

BOISE ST. 74, AIR FORCE 52

AIR FORCE (10-15)

Swan 4-12 1-1 9, Scottie 5-14 0-0 11, Siples 2-4 0-0 4, Tomes 0-1 0-0 0, Lyons 1-4 0-0 3, Akaya 0-0 0-0 0, DeWane 3-4 0-0 8, Manning 0-1 0-0 0, Norman 0-1 0-0 0, Toohey 0-1 0-0 0, Van Soelen 4-6 2-3 10, Van 0-1 0-0 0, Joyce 0-0 0-0 0, Morris 1-3 0-0 3, Brown 0-0 4-4 4. Totals 20-52 7-8 52.

BOISE ST. (21-6)

Haney 5-7 1-2 11, Sengfelder 7-9 0-0 17, Williams 3-5 0-0 8, Hutchison 4-7 0-0 11, Jessup 5-8 0-0 15, Wacker 0-1 1-2 1, Jorch 0-1 1-2 1, Hobbs 2-3 0-0 4, Dickinson 0-6 2-2 2, Christon 1-1 0-0 3, Harwell 0-1 1-2 1, Alston 0-2 0-0 0, Jardine 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-52 6-10 74.

Halftime—Boise St. 38-25. 3-Point Goals—Air Force 5-17 (DeWane 2-2, Morris 1-2, Lyons 1-2, Scottie 1-4, Van 0-1, Siples 0-1, Toohey 0-1, Tomes 0-1, Swan 0-3), Boise St. 14-28 (Jessup 5-8, Hutchison 3-5, Sengfelder 3-5, Williams 2-4, Christon 1-1, Hobbs 0-1, Jardine 0-1, Dickinson 0-3). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Air Force 24 (Lyons 6), Boise St. 31 (Hutchison 10). Assists—Air Force 9 (Van Soelen, Siples 3), Boise St. 19 (Williams, Hobbs, Hutchison 4). Total Fouls—Air Force 11, Boise St. 14.

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