Boise State Basketball

Red-hot opponent delivers another setback to Boise State men’s basketball team at home

It has been easy to take wins for granted at Taco Bell Arena given Leon Rice’s track record.

In the previous eight seasons under Rice, the Boise State men’s basketball team has earned a victory inside its home venue 82.9 percent of the time.

But home isn’t feeling nearly as sweet for the Broncos this season.

After an 83-72 loss to UNLV on Wednesday night, Boise State is just 6-5 on its home court this season. It is the most home defeats since the 2011-12 season, when the Broncos went 11-5 at Taco Bell Arena.

“I hate it, and it’s not going to keep happening,” said Rice, who is now 108-26 at Taco Bell Arena.

The Broncos have four home games remaining: San Jose State (Saturday), Utah State (Feb. 23), Colorado State (Feb. 27) and Air Force (March 9), giving them a chance to finish anywhere from 10-5 to 6-9 at home.

No Boise State men’s team has lost more than eight games at home since the Broncos went 8-8 in 1982-83, the team’s first season in the arena.

“It’s hard to take. ... It’s a home game. They’re a good team, but we knew we were tied in the rankings, so it was a game we really wanted,” Boise State junior Alex Hobbs said. “Frankly, it was kind of a game that we might have needed. But like we keep saying, every time we fall down, we’ve got to get back up.”

The Broncos (10-13, 5-5 MW) shot 52.7 percent from the field against UNLV (12-10, 6-4), but it wasn’t enough to keep up with the hot-shooting Rebels.

UNLV made 14-of-26 shots from 3-point range — the most threes the Broncos have given up this season — in a Mountain West matchup between the conference’s fifth-place teams. The top five teams at the end of the regular season receive first-round byes in next month’s conference tournament.

“We know we can score with anybody in this league, but we’ve got to sit down and guard people or else we’re never going to win,” Boise State redshirt sophomore Derrick Alston said.

Senior guard Noah Robotham led the way for the Rebels, making 5-of-6 from deep and finishing with a double-double of 21 points and 10 assists. Six UNLV players connected from 3-point range, with four of those players making two or more.

UNLV also outscored Boise State 44-29 in the second half.

“They got too many comfortable threes, and they’re the best in the Mountain West in 3-point shooting,” Rice said. “We knew that, and our guys knew that, and the way we guarded in practice (Tuesday), I was pretty excited to watch it tonight.”

The Broncos opened the game on an 8-0 run and led the Rebels by as many as 10 points in the first half. Boise State shot 61.5 percent from the field, but the game remained close at halftime, 43-39, thanks to eight UNLV triples.

Redshirt senior Zach Haney, who started the first 19 games of the season, gave the Broncos an early boost off the bench with 11 points. Haney scored nine straight points over a stretch of 2:28 for a 23-13 lead with 10:40 on the clock.

But Haney added just one bucket in the second half to finish with 13 points. Alston was the Broncos’ high scorer with 17 points, while Hobbs added 16 points and Justinian Jessup had 15.

The score was tied at 68 with 6:06 to play, but the Rebels outscored the Broncos 15-4 the rest of the way to beat Boise State at home for the first time since 2012.

“We’re suffering through some stuff, but we still have a winning program and a winning culture,” Rice said. “They show up every day and work hard. They pick each other up, and they don’t feel sorry for themselves or pout. But we also can get pretty fired up about losing, and I hate it. It’s not going to happen long here.”

Notes: With two 3-pointers against the Rebels, Jessup becomes the fastest Bronco to make 200 triples. He accomplished the feat in 87 games to best the previous record of 91 games, set by Abe Jackson from 1998 to 2002. ... The Broncos play at home again Saturday against San Jose State. Tipoff is noon at Taco Bell Arena.

Women: Boise State 64, UNLV 57

By halftime at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, only two Boise State players had made field goals, while the rest of the Broncos combined to go 0-for-23 from the floor.

It’s a good thing Braydey Hodgins and Rachel Bowers couldn’t miss.

Hodgins and Bowers were a perfect 10-for-10 from the field in the first half, carrying the Broncos (18-3, 9-1 MW) offensively in a Mountain West victory at UNLV (7-14, 5-5).

Hodgins was 7-for-7 in the first 20 minutes, including a 4-for-4 effort from 3-point range, and finished with a career-high 28 points in 38 minutes. Bowers also tallied a career best with 19 points on 7-for-8 shooting.

“I knew Braydey was going to play well, because it wasn’t about staying in first for her,” Boise State coach Gordy Presnell said. “We’ve never won here at Cox in her career. She mentioned it today, so for her it wasn’t about holding off, it was about beating UNLV.”

Boise State’s win in combination with a New Mexico loss gives the Broncos sole possession of first place in the league standings.

UNLV fought back from a nine-point halftime deficit and took a 47-46 lead on a Katie Powell 3-pointer with 7:25 to play. Boise State reserve Sofia Galeron answered with a triple of her own to put the Broncos in front for good.

“We showed a lot of resolve. UNLV made a lot of runs at us, and I thought we had players step up,” Presnell said. “Braydey was just fantastic. Rachel was terrific, and Sofia hit a big three. A lot of people stepped up for us, so I was proud of the resolve and their ability to keep fighting.”

The Broncos are on the road again Saturday at San Jose State (3 p.m. MT).


UNLV (12-10, 6-4 MW)

Noah Robotham 6-8 4-4 21; Kris Clyburn 7-14 2-2 17; Amauri Hardy 5-8 3-5 15; Nick Blair 4-7 3-4 14; Bryce Hamilton 2-7 0-0 6; Cheikh Mbacke Diong 3-5 0-2 6; Joel Ntambwe 1-3 0-0 3; Jonathan Tchamwa Tch 0-0 1-2 1; Trey Woodbury 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-52 13-19 83.

BOISE STATE (10-13, 5-5 MW)

ALSTON, Derrick 6-14 2-4 17; HOBBS, Alex 8-11 0-0 16; JESSUP, Justinian 6-11 1-2 15; HANEY, Zach 5-8 3-7 13; DICKINSON, Marcus 2-3 2-2 6; WACKER, David 1-3 1-2 3; DEMBLEY, Pat 1-3 0-0 2; HARWELL, Malek 0-2 0-0 0; WILLIAMS, RJ 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-55 9-17 72.

UNLV.......................... 39 44 — 83

Boise State................... 43 29 — 72

3-point goals — UNLV 14-26 (Noah Robotham 5-6; Nick Blair 3-5; Bryce Hamilton 2-5; Amauri Hardy 2-4; Kris Clyburn 1-5; Joel Ntambwe 1-1), Boise State 5-19 (ALSTON, Derrick 3-7; JESSUP, Justinian 2-5; HANEY, Zach 0-1; DICKINSON, Marcus 0-1; WACKER, David 0-1; DEMBLEY, Pat 0-1; HARWELL, Malek 0-1; HOBBS, Alex 0-2). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — UNLV 29 (Nick Blair 7), Boise State 26 (HOBBS, Alex 5; JESSUP, Justinian 5). Assists — UNLV 16 (Noah Robotham 10), Boise State 14 (DICKINSON, Marcus 3). Total fouls — UNLV 15, Boise State 16. Technical fouls — None. A — 3,200.


BOISE STATE (18-3, 9-1 MW)

HODGINS, Braydey 10-14 3-5 28; BOWERS, Rachel 7-8 5-6 19; COLEMAN, A’Shanti 3-6 0-0 6; HERMIDA, Marta 0-6 4-4 4; GALERON, Sofia 1-4 0-0 3; LUPFER, Riley 0-8 2-2 2; CHRISTOPHER, Jayde 1-7 0-1 2; HARRELL, Joyce 0-3 0-0 0; VANDERSCHAAF, Marijk 0-0 0-0 0; LOVILLE, Jade 0-2 0-0 0; WOERNER, Ellie 0-1 0-0 0; AMUNDSEN, Tess 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-60 14-18 64.

UNLV (7-14, 5-5 MW)

Katie Powell 5-16 4-5 16; Rodjanae Wade 5-6 3-6 13; Nikki Wheatley 4-8 0-7 8; Bailey Thomas 3-4 0-0 7; Alyssa Anderson 2-4 0-0 5; Justice Ethridge 2-5 0-1 4; Kavionnia Brown 0-0 2-2 2; Paris Strawther 1-4 0-0 2; Jordyn Bell 0-3 0-0 0; Latecia Smith 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-51 9-21 57.

Boise St...................... 16 14 16 18 — 64

UNLV.......................... 9 12 19 17 — 57

3-point goals — Boise St. 6-23 (HODGINS, Braydey 5-8; GALERON, Sofia 1-3; HERMIDA, Marta 0-5; LUPFER, Riley 0-5; CHRISTOPHER, Jayde 0-1; LOVILLE, Jade 0-1), UNLV 4-15 (Katie Powell 2-6; Alyssa Anderson 1-2; Bailey Thomas 1-2; Justice Ethridge 0-3; Jordyn Bell 0-2). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Boise St. 36 (COLEMAN, A’Shanti 8), UNLV 41 (Rodjanae Wade 10). Assists — Boise St. 13 (CHRISTOPHER, Jayde 6), UNLV 10 (Nikki Wheatley 5). Total fouls — Boise St. 18, UNLV 18. Technical fouls — None. A — 1,003.