A few impressive streaks are on the line Saturday for the Boise State basketball team, not that the Broncos are paying attention.
“Nope, haven’t given it a thought,” coach Leon Rice said.
The Broncos have:
▪ A 16-game home win streak, the longest in Rice’s tenure, which began in 2010-11. It is tied for the 14th longest in the nation and tied for second longest in school history. The 19 straight home wins between March 2, 1997, and Jan. 17, 1999, are No. 1.
▪ Eight straight wins overall, the eighth time the Broncos have built a streak that long in school history. A win Saturday over Fresno State would be the Broncos’ first nine-game win streak since 1991-92. Last season, Boise State won eight in a row before losing to ... Fresno State on the road Feb. 14.
▪ Sixteen wins in their last 17 Mountain West regular-season games. The only loss since Jan. 10, 2015, was the setback against the Bulldogs last Valentines Day.
“They do such a good job of focusing on what’s important, what we have to do to get the job done the next game, and hopefully we have some mature guys that understand that,” Rice said. “On Saturday, it’s the biggest game of the year.”
Fresno State (11-5, 2-1) has emerged as a potential Mountain West title contender with all five starters averaging at least 8.9 points per game, led by preseason conference player of the year Marvelle Harris (18.4 ppg).
“They’ve got a lot of talent up and down the roster. ... They’re a really, really high level basketball team,” Rice said.
SCORING OPTIONS APLENTY STEPPING UP
Rice isn’t sure this is his deepest team, but he has as many scoring options as he’s ever had.
Derrick Marks had to put up 30 points to help the Broncos win certain games last season. That’s not the case this season. Six players have led the team in scoring in the 15 games. Junior forward Nick Duncan didn’t score Jan. 2 against Colorado State, but the Broncos won. Senior guard/forward Anthony Drmic, 223 points away from becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer, did not score Tuesday at Utah State, yet the Broncos won by 15.
“I told the guys after the (Colorado State) game, we have a different team this year where it is different guys on different nights,” Rice said. “Last year, we had the consistency of roles night in and night out. We knew what Derrick was going to do every night; this year it isn’t going to be like that.”
SIGNEES OFF TO STRONG STARTS
Boise State signed two guards in November, and both are having strong senior seasons.
Alex Hobbs of La Porte (Texas) High is averaging 34.2 points a game. He’s scored at least 18 in every game for La Porte, which is 15-7 after going 12-21 last season. According to MaxPreps, he was the No. 6 scorer in the United States going into Friday’s games.
The Broncos’ other signee, Justinian Jessup of Longmont (Colo.) High, has led his team to an 8-0 mark, averaging 18.6 points in his first five games.
NO SCRUFFY-LOOKING NERF HERDERS HERE
Thursday’s practice was the 61st for the Broncos, so the routine has to be broken up a bit, lest it become boring. In that spirit, associate coach Jeff Linder helped with some props.
Honoring Star Wars, the most recent edition the top-grossing movie ever in North America, Linder brought out toy light sabers and a Darth Vader mask. Defenders increased their reach with the Jedi’s favorite weapon, while senior guard James Reid sported the mask, which brought on some of the Sith Lord’s famed labored breathing with limited air supply.
“We want to avoid drudgery, we want them to have a good time as we work hard,” Rice said. “When we have lightsabers in our hands, we’re a pretty long, athletic team.”
Fresno St. (11-5, 2-1) at Boise St. (11-4, 2-0)
- When: 4 p.m. Saturday, Taco Bell Arena
- TV: Root
- Radio: KBOI 670 AM
- Tickets: $7-$18 for juniors, $8-$19 for seniors, $9-$20 for adults at Taco Bell Arena box office or BroncoSports.com/tickets