Coming off a surprising loss, their third in four games, the Boise State basketball team needed to mix things up.
First, after more than 80 practices and a 61-53 loss at Air Force on Saturday, the players worked on stress relief Monday by taking on coaches in a game of paintball.
“They needed a little release, do something together and have some fun,” coach Leon Rice said. “I think they really enjoyed taking some shots at the coaches.”
Coaches hope the strategy worked as Boise State hits the road for the second straight game, tipping off at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Colorado State. On Saturday, Rice saw frustration grab hold of his team too often at Air Force.
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“We didn’t do a very good job of handling that,” he said. “If we missed a free throw, it wasn’t like, ‘We’ll get the next one.’ I think some heads would hang right away.”
Rice said Saturday he was considering changes to the lineup, potentially trying to give all 10 regulars equal minutes because of the inability to sustain runs or to stop negative ones. He thought it affected the confidence factor, and with it the once-potent shooting of his team. The Broncos are shooting 29.6 percent on 3-pointers in Mountain West games.
Rice said “there probably will be” some different looks Wednesday.
“It all starts with who we are, and we can’t lose sight of that. We’re a team that plays really hard, plays together with that let-it-rip attitude. We’re trying to get back to that,” Rice said. “I think we’re fun to watch on the road because of how hard we play. We won’t win all of them, but if you play like that, you’re going to give yourself a chance.”
Part of what could make the difference is a team willing to aggressively go for rebounds. The Broncos outrebounded Utah State 39-22 on Feb. 2, but were outrebounded 39-33 on Saturday. Colorado State is plus-4.7 rebounds per game this season.
Minutes after the Air Force game, senior guard Lonnie Jackson said, “Every guy needs to look himself in the mirror and ask if he’s all in.”
Rice said his team has had the right attitude since the game, but talk is cheap.
“We’ll see,” he said. “It’s one thing to talk it and one thing to do it. It doesn’t get any easier (Wednesday). ... It’s going to be about how they respond. I don’t know if we’re as talented as most people think we are, but our No. 1 talent is playing together.”
Boise State men (16-8, 7-4 Mountain West) at Colorado State (13-10, 5-5)
- When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
- Where: Moby Arena (8,745), Fort Collins, Colo.
- TV: ESPN3
- Radio: 670 AM/93.1 FM
Boise State women host first-place Colorado State
- When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
- Where: Taco Bell Arena
- Radio: 1350 KTIK AM
- Records: Boise State 16-6, 9-2 Mountain West; Colorado State 20-1, 10-0
- Tickets: $6 (adults), $4 (seniors/youth), fans who wear pink get in for $3.
- Notes: Boise State has won eight straight games, its longest streak since 2007-08 (15). ... The Rams, who have won 17 straight, allow 51.1 points per game (No. 8 nationally) and lead the Mountain West in offensive shooting percentage (43.7). ... CSU won the first meeting, 68-64, Jan. 2 in Fort Collins. ... BSU sophomore forward Shay Shaw is averaging 13.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, pulling down at least 11 rebounds in nine Mountain West games. ... The Broncos are third in the Mountain West behind the Rams and Fresno State (9-1).