Boise State Basketball

Boise State men lose another heartbreaker; Bronco women cruise in nonconference finale

Watch Boise State’s Christopher dish out nifty assist vs. Southern Utah

Junior guard Jayde Christopher had six of Boise State's season-high 25 assists in an 88-53 victory over Southern Utah on Wednesday at Taco Bell Arena in Boise.
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Junior guard Jayde Christopher had six of Boise State's season-high 25 assists in an 88-53 victory over Southern Utah on Wednesday at Taco Bell Arena in Boise.

RJ Williams scored with 6.3 seconds left to give the Boise State men’s basketball team a one-point lead.

But senior guard James Batemon went coast to coast for a layup in the final seconds as Loyola Marymount escaped with a 70-69 win on Wednesday night at Gersten Pavilion in Los Angeles.

Batemon totaled a game-best 30 points as the Lions improved to 11-1, matching their win total from all of last season.

“We made winning plays, that was big for our team,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said in a postgame radio interview with Bob Behler on 670 AM. “I just really wish they could have got rewarded with the win, because the way they did everything — especially down the stretch — it was about as good as you could do it and against a really good team.

“... We made the winning bucket, we just didn’t get the winning stop.”

After finishing with just two points in a loss to Oregon last Saturday, Williams returned to form with a team-high 21 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Williams, who is from Los Angeles, scored the Broncos’ final eight points of the game, eventually turning a 67-61 deficit into a 69-68 lead with his layup following a timeout with 7.9 seconds remaining in the game.

“Coach, a veteran guy, (he) drew up a good play and we executed it,” Williams told 670 AM.

The final minute of the game included two video reviews of calls that were overturned in the Broncos’ favor. The first review came with 9.5 seconds left after officials ruled Boise State had turned the ball over under its own basket. That call was reversed.

On the ensuing inbound play, Boise State’s Marcus Dickinson passed the ball to Alex Hobbs, who caught the ball and called a timeout as he was falling out of bounds. Initially, the officials ruled a Boise State turnover.

After the Broncos were awarded the timeout, Williams made the go-ahead layup, but the elation didn’t last long.

“Man, (Batemon) got there in a hurry coast to coast,” Rice said. “I was hoping he’d pull up and take a tough one and we’d get out of here.”

With the loss, the Broncos drop to 4-7 overall. They play at home Saturday against Pacific (9-4). Tipoff is 1 p.m. at Taco Bell Arena.

The last time the Broncos had four wins or fewer through their first 11 games was a 3-8 start in 1995-96. That team went on to finish tied for second in the Big Sky.

“We just have great fans, great people that keep supporting us and a great coach that believes in us no matter what the score is,” Williams said. “That’s big time.”

Women: Boise State 88, Southern Utah 53

The Boise State women’s basketball team set out with a goal this season to play better during its nonconference schedule.

With Wednesday’s 88-53 victory over Southern Utah at Taco Bell Arena, the Broncos are 9-2 heading into Mountain West play in the new year. That’s considerably better than the 6-5 record the Broncos had at this time last season.

“We set a goal and we worked hard for it,” Boise State senior Joyce Harrell said in a postgame interview. “Every day everybody put in the time after practice. That’s what really matters, not just the two hours a day that you have but the practice outside that. That was really important.”

The Broncos shot 63.8 percent from the floor — the third-highest single-game shooting percentage in program history — and led by as many as 41 points against the Thunderbirds (3-6).

Junior A’Shanti Coleman led the way with 14 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the field and was one of five Broncos to reach double digits scoring.

Freshman forward Rachel Bowers had the best game of her young career, notching a career-high 13 points and a team-leading seven rebounds. The 6-foot-3 Bowers has provided valuable minutes off the bench in place of injured senior post Marijke Vanderschaaf, who is still recovering from an ACL tear she sustained last season.

“With Marijke’s injury, (Bowers) is getting a heck of an opportunity. Now she is starting to realize the potential that she has,” Boise State coach Gordy Presnell said. “She is something that we don’t have in terms of size, strength, and athleticism. Hopefully, we can just build and build and build and get her better, because down the road here we are going to have some teams that are really big and thick and we are going to need her.”

The Broncos will have the next week off for Christmas break. They’ll return to Boise on Dec. 27 to resume preparations for their Mountain West Conference opener on Wednesday, Jan. 2, against Wyoming (6-2). Tipoff is 7 p.m. at Taco Bell Arena.

The Broncos and Cowgirls split their two meetings last season, with each team winning on the road.

“We have this whole Christmas break off, but I know Wyoming. They are going to be in the gym working out,” Coleman said. “They are a tough team. They are very fundamental. That is the thing coach told us this entire week, even though it is Christmas break we still have to beef up, get in some workouts and do what we need to do.”

Presnell’s contract amended

On Thursday, the Idaho State Board of Education approved an amendment to Presnell’s current contract, which runs through March 31, 2023.

The revision includes increased incentives for academic and athletic performance, which could increase his annual pay by $178,500. Under the previous contract, Presnell was eligible for $78,500 in incentives.

“I appreciate working at Boise State, and I’ve been treated very well here,” Presnell said. “... I appreciate that my administration has confidence in me.”

The new contract also calls for a buyout of $40,000 should Presnell leave the program before March 31, 2019, and a buyout of $20,000 if he leaves before March 16, 2020.

Presnell’s salary of $240,000 for the 2018-19 season and $250,000 annually thereafter beginning in 2019-20 will remain unchanged.

MEN: LOYOLA MARYMOUNT 70, BOISE STATE 69

BOISE STATE (4-7)

RJ Williams 7-10 7-12 21; Justinian Jessup 5-10 2-2 15; Zach Haney 6-9 1-1 13; Marcus Dickinson 2-6 2-2 7; Pat Dembley 1-3 0-0 3; Malek Harwell 1-1 0-0 3; Alex Hobbs 1-4 0-0 3; David Wacker 0-0 2-2 2; Derrick Alston 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 24-45 14-19 69.

LOYOLA MARYMOUNT (11-1)

James Batemon 9-14 10-10 30; Joe Quintana 6-14 0-0 17; Mattias Markusson 4-8 1-2 9; Zafir Williams 2-9 3-4 8; Erik Johansson 2-8 0-0 6; Jordan Bell 0-0 0-0 0; Ivan Alipiev 0-1 0-0 0; Petr Herman 0-0 0-0 0; Donald Gipson 0-1 0-0 0; Eli Scott 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-55 14-16 70.

Boise State................... 32 37 — 69

Loyola Marymount.............. 43 27 — 70

3-point goals — Boise State 7-20 (Jessup 3-7; Dickinson 1-4; Hobbs 1-2; Harwell 1-1; Dembley 1-3; Alston 0-1; Haney 0-2), Loyola Marymount 10-30 (Quintana 5-13; Batemon 2-6; Johansson 2-7; Williams 1-3; Alipiev 0-1). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Boise State 30 (Jessup 8), Loyola Marymount 22 (Williams 5). Assists — Boise State 17 (Dickinson 5), Loyola Marymount 13 (Batemon 4). Total fouls — Boise State 16, Loyola Marymount 15. Technical fouls — None. A — 1,279.

WOMEN: BOISE STATE 88, SOUTHERN UTAH 53

SOUTHERN UTAH (3-6)

Harley Hansen 4-16 4-5 13; Ashley Larsen 4-9 2-2 10; Kiana Thomas 3-9 3-7 9; Breanu Reid 3-9 2-3 8; Hannah Robins 3-3 0-0 6; Jessica Chatman 1-1 1-2 3; Rebecca Cardenas 1-7 0-0 2; Megan Kamps 1-1 0-0 2; Peyton Shepherd 0-2 0-0 0; Geassy Germano 0-0 0-0 0; Chloe Bradford 0-0 0-0 0; Claudia Armato 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-58 12-19 53.

BOISE STATE (9-2)

A’Shanti Coleman 7-8 0-0 14; Rachel Bowers 6-9 1-2 13; Joyce Harrell 6-8 0-0 12; Marta Hermida 4-8 2-2 11; Jade Loville 4-7 3-3 11; Braydey Hodgins 3-4 0-0 9; Ellie Woerner 3-4 2-2 8; Sofia Galeron 2-4 0-0 5; Riley Lupfer 1-3 0-0 3; Emerald Toth 1-3 0-0 2; Jayde Christopher 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 37-58 8-9 88.

Southern Utah................. 11 13 13 16 — 53

Boise State...................... 19 26 23 20 — 88

3-point goals — Southern Utah 1-9 (Hansen 1-5; Thomas 0-1; Reid 0-1; Cardenas 0-2), Boise St. 6-14 (Hodgins 3-4; Lupfer 1-2; Hermida 1-3; Galeron 1-2; Loville 0-3). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Southern Utah 26 (Cardenas 4; Larsen 4; Thomas 4), Boise St. 36 (Bowers 7). Assists — Southern Utah 5 (Cardenas 2), Boise St. 25 (Christopher 6). Total fouls — Southern Utah 5, Boise St. 16. Technical fouls — None.

Rachel Roberts has been covering sports for the Idaho Statesman since 2005. She attended Northwest Nazarene University and is Boise born and raised.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.

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