Leon Rice called out his team’s defensive discipline after an intrasquad scrimmage in front of fans four weeks ago.
The problem reappeared Saturday in the worst possible way.
The Boise State men’s basketball team looked disinterested on defense in a 106-75 loss to No. 15 Oregon in a nonconference matchup at Matthew Knight Arena. The result was a 31-point loss that will go down as the largest margin of defeat in Rice’s 10 seasons. The Ducks’ 106 points also are the most the Broncos have given up in regulation since allowing Portland State to score 106 on Dec. 20, 1974.
“I think they’re a really, really good offensive team, and we didn’t give them any resistance or enough. When they started hitting them, we didn’t just dig in, bow our necks and guard,” Rice said. “... When they shoot it like that, they certainly are a tough team to defend, but we have to just be able to dig in and make some adjustments and stop some guys, because it just kept getting worse and worse.”
New Mexico graduate transfer Anthony Mathis finished 9-for-11 from 3-point range for a game-high 30 points as the Ducks (2-0) knocked down 13-of-19 (68.4 percent) from deep and shot 70 percent overall. The Broncos also allowed 52 Oregon points in the paint and got beat on the boards 34-27.
“We’ve got to be more aggressive on the ball,” Boise State senior Alex Hobbs said. “As basketball players, you talk about being felt, and I don’t think they felt us enough tonight. I thought they were way too comfortable.”
While Mathis and the Ducks could hardly miss, the Broncos (1-1) struggled from 3-point range throughout the game, going just 1-for-12 in the first half and 6-for-23 (26.1 percent) overall. Three of those made 3-pointers came in the final 4 minutes of the game.
Boise State was within 22-17 with 8:06 left in the first half, but the Ducks made three 3-pointers within a span of 42 seconds to push their lead to 31-17, and the deficit only got bigger from there. Oregon led by as many as 36 points in the second half, which is the largest hole the Broncos have ever faced under Rice.
“Coach talked to us in the locker room about having more grit, and I think he’s absolutely right,” Hobbs said. “That’s something that we can take with us moving forward. When we do the right things and we follow the game plans that the coaches set out for us, good things happen.”
Redshirt junior Derrick Alston led the Broncos offensively with 28 points on 9-for-16 shooting from the floor, and Hobbs added 18 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Seniors RJ Williams (11 points) and Justinian Jessup (10 points) gave the Broncos four players in double figures.
But a lackluster effort on defense made the Ducks’ job too easy. Oregon had 27 assists on 42 field goals led by Shakur Juiston’s game-high nine assists. Senior guard Payton Pritchard came into the game needing six assists to reach 500 for his career, and he got seven against the Broncos to go with 19 points and six boards.
And Oregon put on an offensive clinic despite missing one of its starters.
Sophomore forward Francis Okoro was hit by a car earlier in the week and wasn’t available to play against the Broncos. Okoro is expected to be OK, a spokesman for the Ducks confirmed, and he was on the Ducks’ bench for the game. The Ducks also had two players — C.J. Walker and Addison Patterson — foul out.
“One game wasn’t going to make or break our season, whether we came in here and won, whether we came here and played great or played awful, which, in my estimation, defensively we did,” Rice said. “It wasn’t going to make or break our season. It’s November 9. But we’ve got a ways to go defensively.”
Boise State next hosts reigning Big West champion UC Irvine in a 7 p.m. matchup Friday at ExtraMile Arena. The Anteaters finished 31-6 last season, highlighted by a school-record 17-game winning streak that ended with a second-round loss to Oregon in the NCAA Tournament.
Note: Boise State’s previous largest margin of defeat under Rice was 28 points in a 77-49 loss at then-No. 22 Utah State on Feb. 5, 2011. That was Rice’s first season coaching the Broncos. … Boise State is 8-52 all-time against teams ranked in The Associated Press Top 25, including a 3-27 record on the road.
No. 15 OREGON 106, BOISE ST. 75
BOISE ST. (1-1)
R.Williams 5-7 1-2 11, Hobbs 7-12 4-8 18, Alston 9-16 6-9 28, Dickinson 1-5 2-2 4, Jessup 4-14 0-0 10, Jorch 1-2 0-0 2, Rice 0-1 0-0 0, Dennis 0-6 2-2 2. Totals 27-63 15-23 75.
Walker 1-2 0-1 2, Juiston 8-10 0-0 16, Pritchard 7-12 3-4 19, Duarte 2-5 2-2 7, Mathis 10-12 1-2 30, Lawson 4-6 0-0 8, Patterson 7-7 3-4 17, Richardson 3-6 0-0 7. Totals 42-60 9-13 106.
Halftime — Oregon 48-30. 3-Point Goals — Boise St. 6-23 (Alston 4-9, Jessup 2-7, Hobbs 0-1, Dickinson 0-1, Rice 0-1, Dennis 0-4), Oregon 13-19 (Mathis 9-11, Pritchard 2-3, Richardson 1-1, Duarte 1-3, Juiston 0-1). Fouled Out — Patterson, Walker. Rebounds —Boise St. 25 (R.Williams, Jessup 8), Oregon 32 (Lawson 9). Assists — Boise St. 14 (Dennis 5), Oregon 27 (Juiston 9). Total Fouls —Boise St. 13, Oregon 23. A — 7,260 (12,364).