Some of the trickiest victories can be the ones that are simply expected.
The Boise State men’s basketball team didn’t have to worry about that Wednesday night.
The Broncos controlled the pace from start to finish to crush Colorado State 87-54 at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, Colo.
The Rams (11-18, 4-12 MW) sit second-to-last in the Mountain West standings and have been in a state of chaos since coach Larry Eustachy was put on administrative leave earlier this month.
That chaos was evident on the court as the Broncos (22-6, 12-4) handed the Rams their ninth loss in 10 games and grabbed nearly as many rebounds (51) as the Rams had points. Boise State led by as many as 42 points.
“It was kind of a sticky situation with all that’s going on with Colorado State, kind of a funky environment. I know that can kind of be a trap sometimes with some games here on the road,” Boise State senior Chandler Hutchison told the Bronco Radio Network. “I just wanted to lead by example and continue to be aggressive and get the ball moving. Really, our guys down low were the things that sparked us and put us over the top there early. It was pretty easy to feed off their energy.”
Boise State, which entered the game as an eight-point favorite, already had beaten the Rams by 22 to open conference play in late December. It was hard to imagine that margin of victory could get any bigger, but it did.
After Boise State coach Leon Rice was issued a technical foul with 17:14 on the clock and his Broncos down 8-4 in the first half, the game quickly shifted in Boise State’s favor.
“Sometimes you need to wake everybody in the gym up. I didn’t really intend to get a technical, but I wanted to wake some people up,” Rice said. “This atmosphere wasn’t great, and I think you had a really good officiating crew on the deal. I wanted to make sure they knew I was here to play a basketball game and win a game.”
Rice said the comment that drew the technical was: “Hey, we’re going to show up and play. You show up and ref.”
The Broncos fed off their coach’s fire, igniting a 17-2 run that showcased the diverse offensive output that has made the Broncos so deadly at times this season.
The run started with back-to-back 3-pointers from sophomore Justinian Jessup, then switched inside to junior Zach Haney before a hoop-and-harm for sophomore Marcus Dickinson. Sophomore Alex Hobbs got in on the action with a one-handed floater, Hutchison came through with a drive to the hoop and Haney closed out the run with a putback.
“We really got after it. I was really proud of our approach,” Rice said. “That was one of the best Mountain West road games we’ve had.”
Hutchison led all scorers with 27 points, four rebounds, four steals and two assists in 28 minutes. He now has 1,396 career points, putting him ninth on Boise State’s all-time scoring list.
Jessup connected on 4-of-7 3-point attempts to chip in 16 points, and Haney added 13 points and seven boards. Jessup has 79 triples this season, moving him to seventh place in Boise State single-season history.
Ten Broncos scored in all, and Rice was able to clear his bench for the second straight game.
Boise State will have a bye this weekend before playing its final conference road game of the season Tuesday at San Diego State (9 p.m. MT, CBS Sports Network). The Broncos can clinch the No. 2 seed in the Mountain West Tournament with a win over the Aztecs, or a Fresno State loss to Wyoming on Saturday.
“What a great time for the bye. ... You get them early, you don’t want them. You’re ready to play. You’re playing good basketball. You want to keep playing,” Rice said. “You get them late, that’s going to add value to our team. It doesn’t mean the next game’s easy by any means, but it helps this team keep fresh and keep excited.”
Women: Boise State 55, Colorado State 49
The Broncos secured a first-round bye in the Mountain West Tournament with a season sweep of Colorado State on Wednesday night at Taco Bell Arena.
Boise State (18-9, 12-4 MW) is guaranteed at least a No. 4 seed, but also remains in the running for the conference’s regular-season title.
Sophomore guard Braydey Hodgins scored seven of Boise State’s final nine points and finished with 14. Hodgins was 4-for-4 from the free-throw line in the final 1:32 as the Broncos shot a season-best 92.9 percent (13-for-14) on freebies.
Fellow sophomore guard Riley Lupfer notched a team-leading 17 points, going 3-for-5 from 3-point range and a perfect 6-for-6 from the line. Lupfer now has 103 made 3-pointers this season, seven shy of tying the Mountain West single-season record.
Note: Boise State coach Gordy Presnell was whistled for a rare technical foul with 30 seconds left in the third quarter. It was his first technical since Nov. 17, 2007, against Santa Clara.
BOISE ST. 87, COLORADO ST. 54
BOISE ST. (22-6): Haney 5-8 3-4 13, Sengfelder 2-5 3-4 7, Hutchison 10-18 3-4 27, Jessup 5-9 2-2 16, Williams 1-5 0-1 2, Wacker 0-0 0-0 0, Jorch 1-1 0-0 2, Alston 0-0 0-0 0, Christon 0-1 0-0 0, Dickinson 2-7 1-1 6, Harwell 0-3 3-4 3, Hobbs 3-4 0-0 6, Jardine 1-4 3-4 5. Totals 30-65 18-24 87.
COLORADO ST. (11-18): James 3-9 5-8 12, Bob 0-1 0-0 0, Carvacho 0-1 2-5 2, Mitchell 2-8 0-0 4, Nixon 1-9 7-10 9, Ryan 3-4 1-1 7, Paige 4-11 3-3 12, Sabino 0-2 0-0 0, Bonner 2-6 2-2 8, Jenkins 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 15-53 20-29 54.
Halftime—Boise St. 50-29. 3-Point Goals—Boise St. 9-30 (Hutchison 4-7, Jessup 4-7, Dickinson 1-4, Hobbs 0-1, Sengfelder 0-2, Jardine 0-3, Williams 0-3, Harwell 0-3), Colorado St. 4-17 (Bonner 2-2, James 1-2, Paige 1-4, Ryan 0-1, Sabino 0-1, Mitchell 0-2, Jenkins 0-2, Nixon 0-3). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Boise St. 47 (Sengfelder 11), Colorado St. 30 (Carvacho 9). Assists—Boise St. 13 (Williams 3), Colorado St. 9 (Paige, Mitchell 2). Total Fouls—Boise St. 25, Colorado St. 19. Technicals—Boise St. team.