Boise State Basketball

Boise State men handle Wyoming with ease to end three-game skid

Wacker, Williams and Dickinson break down Boise State’s win over Wyoming

Boise State men's basketball players David Wacker, RJ Williams and Marcus Dickinson discuss the Broncos' 77-52 victory over Wyoming on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019, at Taco Bell Arena in Boise.
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Boise State men's basketball players David Wacker, RJ Williams and Marcus Dickinson discuss the Broncos' 77-52 victory over Wyoming on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019, at Taco Bell Arena in Boise.

RJ Williams had been in a funk for more than a month.

After leading the Boise State men’s basketball team in scoring and rebounding during their nonconference schedule, Williams lost his touch and eventually his spot in the starting lineup as Mountain West Conference play progressed.

On Saturday, Williams took advantage of a struggling Wyoming team to get back some of his mojo.

The 6-foot-7 junior scored a team-best 18 points with four steals and zero turnovers as the Broncos handed the Cowboys a 77-52 loss in Mountain West action at Taco Bell Arena in Boise.

It was Williams’ first double-digit scoring game since he had 17 points against Pacific on Dec. 22, 2018.

“When you do the right thing and play the right way, the game — and the coaches — reward you. It always does,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. “The game rewarded (Williams) for his staying positive and fighting through all this stuff that he’s been going through and finding a way to really, really help this team when they needed him the most.”

The Broncos (9-11, 4-3 MW) entered Saturday’s game having lost three conference games in a row with a combined 14-for-67 effort from beyond the arc. But the always-affable Rice had a hunch about what might be in store for the Broncos against a Wyoming team with just one league win and now a 5-15 overall record.

“I told the team, ‘Guys, we’re pregnant with 3s and ready to deliver a lot of them. They might even be twins,’” Rice said. “... I don’t know when the due date is, but it’s soon and it’s coming. If you keep playing the right way, you’ll make those.”

Boise State didn’t necessarily deliver a stunning performance from 3-point range, but the Broncos did make 9-of-26 triples against the Cowboys, led by junior guard Marcus Dickinson’s 4-for-8 effort for 12 points.

It was Boise State’s defensive discipline that stood out against the Cowboys. The Broncos led 28-14 at halftime to come within one point of tying the program record for fewest points by an opponent in a half. The school record is 13, which the Broncos achieved against Idaho State (1987) and Cal Poly (1994).

The Broncos would have easily set the record if not for four Wyoming points over the final 41.1 seconds of the first half.

“We would’ve had the school record? Ah man, they’re going to hear about that come practice time,” Rice said. “And they should be mad about that, because it was our offense that gave them that four points probably, not our defense. Rats.”

The Broncos also limited Mountain West scoring leader Justin James to seven points on 2-for-17 shooting from the floor. James is now a combined 3-for-31 in two games against Boise State this season with Dickinson as his primary defender.

“James is a great player, but defensively that’s just something I take pride in. Ever since I was little, my dad would never let me score and vice versa,” Dickinson said. “... But I can’t give all the glory to myself, because I have four guys behind me having my back on pick and rolls and different situations, so it wasn’t just on me. It was my team as well helping me out.”

In his third straight game off the bench, Williams scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half, including a fast-break dunk with 9:04 remaining in the game that had Williams flexing and high-fiving fans seated along the baseline.

“It was fun. Playing with these guys is always going to be fun,” Williams said. “I was pretty excited. Our fans showing up still and supporting us through the season. I was really excited, it just happened in the moment.”

Boise State will be on the road for two games next week at Colorado State (7 p.m. Tuesday) and Nevada (4 p.m. MT Feb. 2).

Note: Senior David Wacker got his first start of the season and 33rd of his career on Saturday. He finished with seven points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. Five of his team-leading seven rebounds were on the offensive glass.

Women: Wyoming 64, Boise State 54

A season-worst performance from 3-point range and nagging foul trouble put an end to the Broncos’ 10-game winning streak Saturday in Laramie, Wyoming.

Boise State made just 2-of-15 attempts from beyond the arc, committed 22 fouls and failed to have a player reach double-digit scoring for the first time since Feb. 25, 2015, at New Mexico.

“We didn’t play very well offensively. I thought (Wyoming) was clearly more engaged than we were in competing today,” Boise State coach Gordy Presnell said. “We tried to establish post presence, and we couldn’t even enter the ball effectively.

“When you’re struggling from the perimeter and you can’t get the ball inside, you’re going to have a bad recipe.”

Boise State committed nine fouls in the first quarter while the Cowgirls shot 50 percent from the field for a 22-14 lead. That advantage grew to 36-21 by halftime as Boise State’s Joyce Harrell, Rachel Bower and A’Shanti Coleman spent considerable time on the bench with two fouls apiece.

Wyoming (11-5, 4-3 MW) took advantage of Boise State’s foul trouble, going 21-for-27 from the free-throw line in a game the Cowgirls led from start to finish.

Boise State (15-3, 6-1) is home for two games next week against Colorado State (7 p.m. Wednesday) and Nevada (2 p.m. Feb. 2).

MEN: BOISE STATE 77, WYOMING 52

WYOMING (5-15)

Hunter Thompson 6-8 6-8 19; Trevon Taylor 4-7 2-2 10; Justin James 2-17 2-2 7; A.J. Banks 2-5 2-2 6; Jordan Naughton 1-2 3-6 5; Haize Fornstrom 2-3 1-1 5; Brandon Porter 0-1 0-0 0; Trace Young 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-43 16-21 52.

BOISE STATE (9-11)

WILLIAMS, RJ 7-8 4-8 18; HOBBS, Alex 4-11 3-4 13; DICKINSON, Marcus 4-9 0-0 12; HANEY, Zach 3-4 3-5 9; HARWELL, Malek 1-2 4-4 7; WACKER, David 3-3 1-1 7; JESSUP, Justinian 1-8 3-3 6; ALSTON, Derrick 1-3 2-2 5; DEMBLEY, Pat 0-5 0-0 0. Totals 24-53 20-27 77.

Wyoming....................... 14 38 — 52

Boise State................... 28 49 — 77

3-point goals — Wyoming 2-16 (Hunter Thompson 1-3; Justin James 1-9; A.J. Banks 0-2; Trevon Taylor 0-2), Boise State 9-26 (DICKINSON, Marcus 4-8; HOBBS, Alex 2-4; ALSTON, Derrick 1-3; JESSUP, Justinian 1-4; HARWELL, Malek 1-2; DEMBLEY, Pat 0-3; HANEY, Zach 0-1; WILLIAMS, RJ 0-1). Fouled out — Wyoming-Jordan Naughton, Boise State-None. Rebounds — Wyoming 22 (Justin James 6), Boise State 34 (WACKER, David 7). Assists — Wyoming 9 (Justin James 4), Boise State 15 (WACKER, David 3; DEMBLEY, Pat 3). Total fouls — Wyoming 23, Boise State 20. Technical fouls — Wyoming-TEAM, Boise State-None. A — 5,093.

WOMEN: WYOMING 64, BOISE STATE 52

BOISE STATE (15-3, 6-1 MW)

LUPFER, Riley 3-11 1-1 7; CHRISTOPHER, Jayde 3-6 1-2 7; GALERON, Sofia 3-5 0-0 7; COLEMAN, A’Shanti 3-5 0-0 6; HODGINS, Braydey 2-6 1-1 6; BOWERS, Rachel 2-4 2-2 6; HARRELL, Joyce 2-5 0-0 4; VANDERSCHAAF, Marijk 1-1 1-1 3; LOVILLE, Jade 1-7 0-0 2; AMUNDSEN, Tess 1-3 0-0 2; HERMIDA, Marta 1-6 0-0 2; TOTH, Emerald 0-1 0-0 0; WOERNER, Ellie 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-60 6-7 52.

WYOMING (11-5, 4-3 MW)

GOMEZ,Marta 4-8 6-6 15; COTTON,Bailee 2-7 10-12 14; ERJAVEC,Karla 3-7 2-2 10; TAPIA,Clara 4-5 1-3 9; WEIDEMANN,Quinn 3-8 1-1 7; RUSK,Taylor 3-8 0-1 6; VITULOVA,Tereza 1-5 0-0 2; RAKOVIC,Sladjana 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 20-48 21-27 64.

Boise St...................... 14 7 21 10 — 52

Wyoming....................... 22 14 14 14 — 64

3-point goals — Boise St. 2-15 (GALERON, Sofia 1-2; HODGINS, Braydey 1-3; COLEMAN, A’Shanti 0-1; LOVILLE, Jade 0-2; AMUNDSEN, Tess 0-1; HERMIDA, Marta 0-2; LUPFER, Riley 0-4), Wyoming 3-11 (ERJAVEC,Karla 2-2; GOMEZ,Marta 1-2; WEIDEMANN,Quinn 0-2; RUSK,Taylor 0-1; VITULOVA,Tereza 0-2; COTTON,Bailee 0-2). Fouled out — Boise St.-COLEMAN, A’Shanti, Wyoming-None. Rebounds — Boise St. 34 (HERMIDA, Marta 6; LUPFER, Riley 6), Wyoming 36 (COTTON,Bailee 7; RUSK,Taylor 7). Assists — Boise St. 9 (HERMIDA, Marta 3), Wyoming 9 (RUSK,Taylor 3). Total fouls — Boise St. 22, Wyoming 16. Technical fouls — None. A — 2,500.

Rachel Roberts has been covering sports for the Idaho Statesman since 2005. She attended Northwest Nazarene University and is Boise born and raised.

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