Boise State Basketball

Hobbs has career night, but Boise State loses ‘mojo’ in second half at Oregon

‘Aggressive’ mindset gets Boise State’s Hobbs going against Oregon

Boise State junior guard Alex Hobbs scored a career-high 21 points in the Broncos' 66-54 loss at Oregon on Saturday at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Oregon.
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Boise State junior guard Alex Hobbs scored a career-high 21 points in the Broncos' 66-54 loss at Oregon on Saturday at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Oregon.

The Boise State men’s basketball team thought it was going to have to go through 7-foot-2 center Bol Bol for a win in Oregon territory.

Instead, the Broncos faced a more internal foe.

Boise State’s two leading scorers went a combined 1-for-15 from the field as the Broncos let a first-half lead slip away in a 66-54 loss to the Ducks on Saturday night at Matthew Knight Arena.

Juniors RJ Williams and Justinian Jessup entered Saturday’s game averaging a combined 29.0 points for the Broncos, but the pair managed just four total points against the Ducks (7-3).

“You hate to say it, and I’m not putting it on them, but you can’t win when your leading scorers go 1 for 15,” Boise State men’s basketball coach Leon Rice told the Idaho Statesman in a postgame interview.

“They’re good enough players that we can’t have those nights for us to be a good team. ... We’ve just got to get a little bit more mentally tougher where we can handle more adversity and we don’t get into our minds.”

In his second start of the season after missing three games with an ankle injury, Boise State junior Alex Hobbs matched his career-high with 21 points, including a 5-for-7 performance from 3-point range.

The junior guard from La Porte, Texas, was shooting with military precision in the first half, going 6-for-8 from the floor and a perfect 4-for-4 from beyond the arc.

“It’s just great to have him back and get his moxie and mojo going,” Rice said. “But what we need as a team is we need all our players to be clicking. And they don’t have to be making every shot, but they all have to be playing well together on the same nights. When we get that, we’ll be a really good team.”

Hobbs scored 10 of the Broncos’ final 13 points of the first half and had a season-high 16 points by halftime. With time running out on the shot clock, Hobbs made a 3 in the face of his defender to give Boise State a 28-24 lead going into the break.

“The way they were playing me, they were kind of playing me more as a driver,” Hobbs said. “My 3-point shot hasn’t really been there all the way this year due to some other things, but I know I can shoot it. It’s just about being aggressive.”

While Hobbs’ hot shooting kept the Broncos afloat in the first half, Boise State endured a stretch of more than 6 minutes at the start of the second half without a field goal. The Ducks outscored the Broncos 12-1 over that span for a 43-33 lead with 12:47 on the clock.

Jessup — who entered averaging 13.1 points per game — made his first field goal of the game at the 11:11 mark. Jessup’s layup was followed by a hook shot from senior Zach Haney and a steal and layup from junior Marcus Dickinson all within the span of a minute. The Broncos’ 6-0 run cut the deficit to 46-41, but that’s as close as they would get the remainder of the way.

Boise State finished the game a combined 18-of-51 from the floor for a season-low percentage of 35.3.

“When we’re all on the same page and when everybody’s clicking, we’re going to be a really good team,” said Dickinson, who contributed 11 points. “The good thing about this is it’s only December. We still have January, February and March, so we still have a lot of time to click and feed off each other.”

Bol, the son of NBA shot-blocking king Manute Bol, did not play for the Ducks on Saturday after sustaining a left foot injury earlier in the week. He will undergo further evaluation next week, according to an Oregon press release. Bol is averaging 21.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. It is unknown if he will be available for the Ducks’ game at Taco Bell Arena on Saturday, Dec. 29.

“We’re lucky enough to get another shot at them, so I think the important thing is just to move on from this,” Hobbs said. “Good things, bad things, whatever, and just keep moving forward and getting better.”

Up next for the Broncos is a road trip to California to play Loyola Marymount (10-1). Tipoff is 8 p.m. MT on Wednesday at Gersten Pavilion in Los Angeles. The Broncos beat the Lions 68-48 last season at Taco Bell Arena.

OREGON 66, BOISE STATE 54

BOISE STATE (4-6)

Alex Hobbs 8-15 0-0 21; Marcus Dickinson 3-6 4-6 11; Zach Haney 5-7 0-1 11; Malek Harwell 0-1 4-5 4; David Wacker 1-2 0-0 2; RJ Williams 0-6 2-2 2; Justinian Jessup 1-9 0-2 2; Derrick Alston 0-3 1-2 1; Pat Dembley 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 18-51 11-18 54.

OREGON (7-3)

Payton Pritchard 7-12 4-4 19; Paul White 4-6 5-7 14; Victor Bailey Jr. 4-6 4-4 13; Louis King 1-5 2-2 5; Francis Okoro 2-2 1-2 5; Kenny Wooten 1-3 3-4 5; Will Richardson 1-3 0-0 2; Ehab Amin 1-3 0-0 2; Abu Kigab 0-3 1-2 1; Miles Norris 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-43 20-25 66.

Boise State................... 28 26 — 54

Oregon........................ 24 42 — 66

3-point goals — Boise State 7-16 (Hobbs 5-7; Haney 1-1; Dickinson 1-1; Williams 0-1; Jessup 0-4; Alston 0-1; Dembley 0-1), Oregon 4-14 (White 1-2; King 1-3; Pritchard 1-3; Bailey Jr. 1-2; Amin 0-2; Kigab 0-2). Fouled out — Boise State-None, Oregon-Will Richardson. Rebounds — Boise State 26 (Alston 5), Oregon 33 (Richardson 5; King 5; White 5; Pritchard 5). Assists — Boise State 5 (Jessup 2), Oregon 7 (Wooten 3). Total fouls — Boise State 17, Oregon 17. Technical fouls — None. A — 8,506.

Women: Boise State 78, Saint Francis 64

The Boise State women’s basketball team is getting the matchup it wanted.

After taking care of business in the opening round of the Husky Classic on Saturday against the Red Flash, the Broncos (7-2) will meet host Washington (7-3) in Sunday’s championship. Tipoff is 5 p.m. MT at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle.

The two-day tournament is a bit of a homecoming for the Broncos, who have seven players on the roster hailing from Washington.

“We’d love to play Washington on their home court,” Boise State coach Gordy Presnell told the Idaho Statesman earlier this week.

Against Saint Francis (Pa.), Boise State had four players score in double digits, led by junior guard Braydey Hodgins with 15 points. Riley Lupfer chipped in with 13, A’Shanti Coleman had 12 and Jade Loville added 11.

The Broncos had assists on 23 of their 30 fields goals, with Jayde Christopher dishing out 11.

BOISE STATE 78, SAINT FRANCIS (PA) 64

SAINT FRANCIS (2-7)

Jess Kovatch 9-15 0-0 24; Karson Swogger 4-11 3-4 14; Aunesha Williams 3-8 0-1 6; AJ Timbers 2-3 0-0 5; Sam Sabino 2-4 0-0 4; Leah Morrow 1-6 2-2 4; Haley Thomas 2-5 0-0 4; Courtney Zezza 1-3 1-2 3; Jenna Mastellone 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-55 6-9 64.

BOISE STATE (7-2)

Braydey Hodgins 5-9 0-0 15; Riley Lupfer 4-12 2-2 13; A’Shanti Coleman 5-14 2-2 12; Jade Loville 4-13 1-1 11; Rachel Bowers 3-4 1-2 7; Joyce Harrell 3-9 1-4 7; Marta Hermida 2-6 0-0 5; Jayde Christopher 2-5 0-1 4; Sofia Galeron 2-4 0-0 4; Emerald Toth 0-2 0-0 0; Ellie Woerner 0-5 0-0 0. Totals 30-83 7-12 78.

Saint Francis............ 16 16 18 14 — 64

Boise St...................... 16 27 23 12 — 78

3-point goals — Saint Francis 10-26 (Kovatch 6-11; Swogger 3-6; Timbers 1-2; Thomas 0-2; Zezza 0-2; Sabino 0-2; Williams 0-1), Boise St. 11-33 (Hodgins 5-8; Lupfer 3-10; Loville 2-6; Hermida 1-5; Christopher 0-1; Woerner 0-2; Coleman 0-1). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Saint Francis 49 (Swogger 9), Boise St. 40 (Harrell 5; Hodgins 5; Coleman 5). Assists — Saint Francis 14 (Swogger 5), Boise St. 23 (Christopher 11). Total fouls — Saint Francis 12, Boise St. 13. Technical fouls — Saint Francis-Sabino, Boise St.-None. A — 1,600.

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