Boise State Basketball

Mountain West’s sixth man of year shakes off rust, helps Boise State return to win column

Boise State guard Marcus Dickinson forces a turnover by Central Washington’s Gamaun Boykin in the first half Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 at Taco Bell Arena in Boise.
Boise State guard Marcus Dickinson forces a turnover by Central Washington’s Gamaun Boykin in the first half Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018 at Taco Bell Arena in Boise. doswald@idahostatesman.com

Alex Hobbs missed a few shots Saturday that he’d like to have back, but nobody on the Boise State men’s basketball team was complaining.

The Broncos are just glad to see the 6-foot-4 junior guard from La Porte, Texas, back on the court.

Between a concussion and an ankle injury, Hobbs was limited for Boise State’s first eight games, but he returned to the lineup Saturday afternoon against Central Washington, providing the Broncos with the morale boost they needed for an 82-62 victory at Taco Bell Arena.

“It’s been a little disappointing, but I’ve got great coaches and great guys around me that just keep me looking at the big picture,” Hobbs said during a postgame interview with local media.

“That’s really what it’s all about. Definitely I was bummed that I wasn’t able to start the year how I wanted to or start the year completely healthy. ... I’m just really happy to be back with these guys.”

Hobbs scored a season-high 13 points and had two rebounds, two assists, two steals and one blocked shot in 31 minutes of action to help the Broncos (3-5) end a three-game losing streak, the program’s first since the 2014-15 season.

Hobbs was the Mountain West Sixth Man of the Year last season.

“I was just saying in practice the other day, when he’s out there, we just have so much more poise as a team and a lot of control over the game,” Boise State junior Justinian Jessup said. “He makes a lot of plays and distributes the ball and can score, so it’s definitely huge for our team.”

After playing just five total minutes in the Broncos’ last four games, Hobbs checked in against the Division II Wildcats with 14:51 on the clock in the first half and immediately scored on a drive to the hoop.

RJ Williams (14 points), Jessup (13) and Derrick Alston (12) joined Hobbs in double figures, and nine Broncos scored in the team’s first home game in more than three weeks.

“I’m expecting (Hobbs) and Justinian to be two of the better players in the league,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. “For us to be a good team, they have to be.”

The Broncos received another injury scare late in the second half when Williams went down with a left ankle injury. The Broncos’ leading scorer and rebounder had to be helped off the court at the 7:11 mark and briefly went back to the locker room before returning to the bench for the remainder of the game.

“He stepped on that kid’s foot. He’s fine. He’ll be fine,” Rice said. “I think he could have (come back in), but he wasn’t tugging at my sleeve.”

Boise State will try for back-to-back wins for the first time this season when it hosts Alabama State on Wednesday. It is the first meeting between the two programs, and tipoff is 7 p.m. at Taco Bell Arena.

BOISE ST. 82, CENTRAL WASH. 62

CENTRAL WASH. (4-4)

Malcolm Cola 7-9 2-2 16; Jeryn Lucas 5-11 0-0 13; Hayden Nelson 4-4 1-1 9; Marcus Austin 3-7 0-0 7; Zelllie Hudson 2-3 0-0 4; Matt Poquette 2-2 0-1 4; Jackson Price 1-5 0-0 3; Naim Ladd 1-3 0-0 2; Gamaun Boykin 1-6 0-1 2; Nygil Carr 1-1 0-0 2; Andreas Brown 0-0 0-0 0; Karsten Chaplik 0-1 0-0 0; Lewis Pope 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 27-55 3-5 62.

BOISE ST. (3-5)

RJ Williams 4-12 6-11 14; Alex Hobbs 4-12 4-4 13; Justinian Jessup 5-9 0-2 13; Derrick Alston 3-4 5-6 12; Zach Haney 4-5 0-3 8; Marcus Dickinson 3-5 0-0 8; Malek Harwell 1-3 4-4 6; David Wacker 3-4 0-0 6; Pat Dembley 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 28-58 19-30 82.

Central Wash.................. 31 31 - 62

Boise St...................... 35 47 - 82

3-point goals — Central Wash. 5-19 (Lucas 3-7; Austin 1-4; Price 1-2; Ladd 0-1; Boykin 0-1; Chaplik 0-1; Pope 0-2; Hudson 0-1), Boise St. 7-18 (Jessup 3-5; Dickinson 2-3; Hobbs 1-4; Alston 1-2; Dembley 0-3; Harwell 0-1). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Central Wash. 27 (Boykin 5; Poquette 5), Boise St. 36 (Alston 6; Williams 6). Assists — Central Wash. 9 (Boykin 5), Boise St. 13 (Dickinson 6). Total fouls — Central Wash. 22, Boise St. 11. Technical fouls — None. A — 3,879.

Women: Lupfer adds to 3-point lore

If Friday was a dress rehearsal for tournament crunch time in March, the Boise State women’s basketball team passed the practice test with ease.

Balancing a busy week of finals and intense practice coming off their first road loss of the season, the Broncos kept their focus in a 67-55 nonconference victory over Eastern Washington at Taco Bell Arena.

“I think it kind of prepares us for March, because our conference tournament is always during finals,” Boise State guard Braydey Hodgins said during a postgame interview with local media. “These preseason games during finals, it kind of gives us a look ahead.”

Following a disappointing 95-71 loss at Washington State on Dec. 1, the Broncos (6-2) took out their frustration on the one-win Eagles (1-6) with four players reaching double figures and eight Broncos scoring in all.

Junior guard Riley Lupfer made three 3-pointers in the win to bring her career total to 195, passing Brooke Pahukoa’s 193 (2013-17) for second all-time in Boise State history. Abby Vaughan holds the record with 260 made triples from 1999 to 2003, and Lupfer’s 122 3-pointers last season established the program’s single-season record.

Lupfer — who has 17 3s through eight games — finished with 11 points, six rebounds and four assists, but the Broncos were an uncharacteristic 9-for-28 (32.1 percent) from deep. They have shot 45.5 percent or better beyond the arc four times this season — all wins.

“We’ve just got to get our reps in and confidence. The rim shrinks on you and it goes mental a little bit,” Boise State coach Gordy Presnell said. “Hopefully we’ll have a game here where the hoop’s pretty big and then we can be off to the races.

“But our 3-point shooters traditionally in the last two or three years haven’t gotten off to a good start, but they will. It’s just a matter of time and effort.”

Boise State junior forward A’Shanti Coleman notched a game-high 16 points and five steals, with two of those steals coming in the first two minutes of the game as the Broncos shot out of the gate for a 7-0 lead. Hodgins added 14 points and a game-leading five assists, and senior Joyce Harrell rounded out the Broncos’ scoring with 10 points in a little more than 18 minutes on the court.

“I was really pleased with A’Shanti Coleman and Braydey Hodgins. I thought both of them played very, very well,” Presnell said. “A’Shanti kept balls alive, and she was really good on the press. ... Braydey ran the show. She played like a seasoned person. She even called some plays out there and got us into good sets. I thought the last two minutes she and A’Shanti were exceptional.”

Boise State will have a week off before its next game, which will be against St. Francis (Pa.) on Dec. 15 in the first round of the Husky Classic in Seattle. The Broncos will then play either host Washington or Montana on Dec. 16.

You can support the continued coverage of women’s sports by signing up for a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.

WOMEN: BOISE ST. 67, E. WASHINGTON 55

E. WASHINGTON (1-6)

Jessica McDowell-White 5-10 2-2 15; Violet Kapri Morrow 5-18 4-5 14; Brittany Klaman 3-5 1-2 8; Alissa Sealby 2-3 0-1 5; Grace Kirscher 1-4 2-2 4; Leya DePriest 2-2 0-0 4; Uriah Howard 1-8 0-0 3; Amira Chandler 1-1 0-0 2; Milly Knowles 0-0 0-2 0; Bella Cravens 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-51 9-14 55.

BOISE ST. (6-2)

A’Shanti Coleman 7-9 2-3 16; Braydey Hodgins 5-8 1-2 14; Riley Lupfer 4-14 0-0 11; Joyce Harrell 5-9 0-0 10; Marta Hermida 3-12 0-0 9; Sofia Galeron 2-3 0-0 4; Jayde Christopher 1-5 0-0 2; Ellie Woerner 0-4 1-2 1; Emerald Toth 0-0 0-0 0; Jade Loville 0-1 0-0 0; Rachel Bowers 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-65 4-7 67.

E. Washington....... 15 8 18 14 — 55

Boise St...................... 16 17 16 18 — 67

3-point goals — Eastern Wash. 6-17 (McDowell-White 3-7; Howard 1-2; Sealby 1-2; Klaman 1-2; Kirscher 0-1; Kapri Morrow 0-3), Boise St. 9-28 (Hermida 3-7; Lupfer 3-10; Hodgins 3-6; Christopher 0-3; Woerner 0-1; Loville 0-1). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Eastern Wash. 33 (Kapri Morrow 8), Boise St. 37 (Lupfer 6). Assists — Eastern Wash. 8 (Klaman 3), Boise St. 18 (Hodgins 5). Total fouls — Eastern Wash. 14, Boise St. 13. Technical fouls — None. A — 625.

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