Boise State Basketball

Boise State men lose for fourth time in five games; women lock up tournament bye

Boise State’s Rice discusses Broncos’ loss at San Diego State

Boise State men's basketball coach Leon Rice talks to the media after the Broncos' 71-65 loss to San Diego State on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, at Viejas Arena in San Diego.
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Boise State men's basketball coach Leon Rice talks to the media after the Broncos' 71-65 loss to San Diego State on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, at Viejas Arena in San Diego.

It might have seemed like a rather dangerous promise given the circumstances last month, but it turns out Devin Watson is a man of his word.

After suffering a 24-point defeat to the Boise State men’s basketball team on Jan. 5 at Taco Bell Arena, Watson and his San Diego State teammates earned a regular-season split with a 71-65 defeat of the Broncos on Saturday at Viejas Arena.

Watson spearheaded the Aztecs’ comeback from a four-point halftime deficit by scoring 16 of his 19 points in the second half. The senior guard also made 3-of-4 free throws in the final 21.9 seconds to turn a one-possession game into a six-point win.

“There was a lot of chirping the last time we played Boise at their place,” Watson said. “I told them I had something for them when we got back home, and I felt like we handled that.”

Junior guard Justinian Jessup sank a 3-pointer with 29 seconds left to pull the Broncos within 68-65. Following a Boise State timeout, the Broncos immediately fouled Watson, sending him to the free-throw line with the Aztecs in the bonus. Watson made the first and missed the second, re-energizing Boise State if only for a moment.

RJ Williams grabbed the rebound for the Broncos, and Jessup raced downcourt, using a screen to get open in the left corner. Jessup’s triple appeared to be on target when it left his hands, but the ball hit the back of the rim and bounced out.

“I thought we were ready to go,” said Jessup, who finished with 19 points, six rebounds and three assists. “But you’ve got to be about it, not talk about it.”

With their fourth loss in the last five games, the Broncos’ uphill climb only gets steeper.

Boise State (11-15, 6-7 MW) will have to win its five remaining games to avoid finishing the regular season with a losing record for the first time since 2011-12. The Broncos went 13-17 overall in 2011-12, which was the Broncos’ first season in the Mountain West and second year under coach Leon Rice.

“We fix something and then the dike springs a leak somewhere else,” Rice said. “... We’re not used to losing like this, and we’ve lost so many tough games. Somebody said to me, ‘Would it be easier if you lost by 20?’ I don’t know. I don’t want to find that out.

“... When you put your heart in it like these guys are doing, it’s tough to deal with that disappointment for them.”

The Broncos had one of their poorest rebounding performances of the season, allowing the Aztecs to scoop up 17 offensive boards and outrebound them 43-25 overall. And a game after making 16-of-17 free throws, Boise State converted just 9-of-17 freebies at SDSU.

“I think individually every person has to try and do more,” Boise State redshirt sophomore Derrick Alston said. “We have a bye (next) week, so get in extra shots, whatever we can do 1 percent better to finish out this thing strong.”

Boise State will have a mid-week bye before hosting Utah State at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23, at Taco Bell Arena. It is the only meeting between the two teams this season.

Braydey.jpg
Junior guard Braydey Hodgins scored a game-leading 22 points as Boise State defeated San Diego State 91-67 on Saturday at Taco Bell Arena in Boise. Brooke Sutton Boise State University

Women: Boise State 91, San Diego State 67

The Boise State women kept their perfect Mountain West Conference home record intact with a victory over San Diego State on Saturday afternoon at Taco Bell Arena.

The Broncos (21-3, 12-1 MW) improved to 7-0 at home in league play behind junior guard Braydey Hodgins, who extended her streak of 20-point games to four with a game-high 22 points. Hodgins also had five assists, five steals and four rebounds in 38 minutes. She is the first Bronco to post four straight 20-point games since Kati Isham in 2010.

“I felt like we performed well in all phases of the game,” Boise State coach Gordy Presnell said in a press release. “I thought our kids were really unselfish and shot the ball at a high percentage. It was a great win for us.”

The victory assures Boise State at least a top-five seed and a first-round bye in next month’s Mountain West Tournament, where the Broncos are the two-time defending champions. Thanks to New Mexico’s 77-70 loss at Fresno State on Saturday, Boise State also increases its lead atop the conference standings to two games over the Aztecs and 2.5 games over Wyoming with five remaining.

Boise State’s bench combined for 29 points against the Aztecs (10-13, 5-7), led by Tess Amundsen’s season-high 15 points and career-high eight rebounds. The bench’s strong performance helped compensate for the absence of junior guard Riley Lupfer, who sat out for the third straight game with an undisclosed injury.

“Riley is one of the main keys to this team, so it is really hard to have her on the curb because of all that she brings to the team,” Boise State senior Marta Hermida said in a press release. “We knew that we had to step up for her. If you don’t have your teammate, you have to make sure that she doesn’t feel as bad as I’m sure she feels right now not being able to play. We all need to contribute to make sure that we help her.”

With her game-leading seven assists, Boise State redshirt junior Jayde Christopher now has 136 assists this season, which is the sixth-highest single-season total in program history.

Gymnastics: Broncos rock beam rotation

The No. 10 Boise State gymnastics team broke a tie going into the final rotation against No. 20 BYU with a record-setting performance on balance beam.

The Broncos posted a program-best cumulative beam score of 49.550 to defeat the Cougars 197.175 to 196.900 on Friday night at Smith Fieldhouse in Provo, Utah.

Senior Shani Remme broke her career-best all-around score with a 39.600 to claim her 21st all-around title. Remme also tied with teammate Emily Muhlenhaupt for first on bars with a pair of 9.950s and shared the beam title with Courtney McGregory with 9.950s.

Boise State’s next competition is at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, against No. 6 Denver and No. 23 Iowa State in Denver.

MEN: SAN DIEGO ST. 71, BOISE ST. 65

BOISE STATE (11-15, 6-7)

JESSUP, Justinian 8-15 0-1 19; ALSTON, Derrick 4-10 2-2 12; WILLIAMS, RJ 3-4 2-4 8; DEMBLEY, Pat 2-5 2-3 7; HOBBS, Alex 3-12 0-0 7; HANEY, Zach 2-4 0-2 4; HARWELL, Malek 1-2 2-2 4; DICKINSON, Marcus 1-2 0-0 3; WACKER, David 0-2 1-3 1. Totals 24-56 9-17 65.

SAN DIEGO ST. (16-9, 8-4)

Devin Watson 4-8 8-10 19; Jalen McDaniels 9-20 0-0 18; Matt Mitchell 3-11 6-6 13; Nathan Mensah 4-6 2-4 10; Jeremy Hemsley 3-5 1-4 7; Aguek Arop 2-3 0-0 4; Nolan Narain 0-2 0-0 0; Adam Seiko 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-55 17-24 71.

Boise State................... 29 36 — 65

San Diego St.................. 25 46 — 71

3-point goals — Boise State 8-19 (JESSUP, Justinian 3-7; ALSTON, Derrick 2-4; HOBBS, Alex 1-3; DICKINSON, Marcus 1-2; DEMBLEY, Pat 1-2; HARWELL, Malek 0-1), San Diego St. 4-16 (Devin Watson 3-6; Matt Mitchell 1-5; Nolan Narain 0-1; Jalen McDaniels 0-4). Fouled out — Boise State-None, San Diego St.-Nathan Mensah. Rebounds — Boise State 25 (JESSUP, Justinian 6), San Diego St. 43 (Nathan Mensah 8). Assists — Boise State 14 (WACKER, David 4), San Diego St. 12 (Jeremy Hemsley 6). Total fouls — Boise State 20, San Diego St. 18. Technical fouls — Boise State-ALSTON, Derrick, San Diego St.-None. A — 11,040.

WOMEN: BOISE ST. 91, SAN DIEGO ST. 67

SAN DIEGO ST. (10-13)

ADAMS, Mallory 4-12 7-9 17; DORNSTAUDER, Zayn 6-10 2-4 14; ADAMS, Tea 5-10 3-5 13; MURRAY, Naje 4-10 0-0 9; VANDERDOES, Baylee 1-2 2-4 4; RAMOS, Sophia 1-3 0-0 3; GOMEZ, Loli 1-2 0-0 3; VILLA, Kennedi 1-1 0-0 2; GOMEZ, Arantxa 1-1 0-0 2; TERRY, Monique 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 24-54 14-22 67.

BOISE ST. (21-3)

HODGINS, Braydey 7-12 4-4 22; HERMIDA, Marta 5-9 2-2 16; AMUNDSEN, Tess 6-11 1-1 15; COLEMAN, A’Shanti 4-9 2-2 10; HARRELL, Joyce 4-5 0-0 8; CHRISTOPHER, Jayde 3-7 0-0 6; BOWERS, Rachel 2-2 1-2 5; TOTH, Emerald 1-1 1-2 3; LOVILLE, Jade 1-4 0-0 2; GALERON, Sofia 1-3 0-0 2; WOERNER, Ellie 1-2 0-0 2; VANDERSCHAAF, Marijk 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 35-66 11-13 91.

San Diego St.................. 20 15 14 18 — 67

Boise St...................... 28 22 18 23 — 91

3-point goals — San Diego St. 5-17 (ADAMS, Mallory 2-5; GOMEZ, Loli 1-2; RAMOS, Sophia 1-3; MURRAY, Naje 1-6; ADAMS, Tea 0-1), Boise St. 10-26 (HERMIDA, Marta 4-7; HODGINS, Braydey 4-7; AMUNDSEN, Tess 2-6; CHRISTOPHER, Jayde 0-1; LOVILLE, Jade 0-2; GALERON, Sofia 0-2; WOERNER, Ellie 0-1). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — San Diego St. 28 (ADAMS, Tea 5; ADAMS, Mallory 5), Boise St. 38 (AMUNDSEN, Tess 8). Assists — San Diego St. 17 (RAMOS, Sophia 5), Boise St. 23 (CHRISTOPHER, Jayde 7). Total fouls — San Diego St. 13, Boise St. 16. Technical fouls — None. A — 1,875.

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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