Second Half Surge Lifts Broncos
Nov. 25, 2017
BOISE, Idaho – With Loyola Marymount (3-2) on a 6-0 run, and the Boise State men’s basketball team shooting a meager 11-percent from the field to start the second half, it looked as if Boise State’s perfect 23-0 record at Taco Bell Arena during the month of November under head coach Leon Rice could see its final game.
But down 40-34, Marcus Dickinson made a three-pointer from the corner, and Lexus Williams pulled down the defensive rebound on the other end. Dickinson sunk another trey – his third of the game – and the Broncos (5-1) never looked back en route to a 68-48 win over the Lions in front of 5,570 fans at Taco Bell Arena.
Boise State would close on a 34-8 run over the final 13 minutes of the game, while stifling Loyola Marymount’s shooting to end the game on a 1-of-11 streak from the field.
The 48 points by the Lions is the lowest output by a Division 1 opponent since Boise State held San Diego State to 46 in a 54-46 win (Feb. 28, 2015).
The Broncos only allowed 22 points in the second half – their best defensive effort since holding Willamette to 15 (Dec. 2, 2015).
“We can take some body blows and then all of a sudden we just explode,” said Rice. “It’s all about the quality shots we’re getting. If we can get good shots, it’s going to even out and we’re going to start making them. We just have to play harder and play through it, and they did a good job of it.”
Dickinson finished the game with 13 points – tied for a career high. The sophomore guard was 5-of-8 from the field, and 3-of-5 on three pointers, while also dishing out two assists.
“In the first half, we weren’t hitting shots at all,” Dickinson said. “I missed a couple shots in the first half, and I got down on myself. My teammates and coaches kept telling me to take shots.”
Making his first start of the season, Justinian Jessup wasted little time in filling the hole left by Chandler Hutchison, who sat out the game with an injury. Jessup had 12 points in the first half, and ended the game with 22 points – tied for a career high.
This was Jessup’s third career game scoring 20 or more points.
Boise State would finish the game shooting 38.9-percent from the field, but overcame their shooting woes with strong rebounding, and capitalizing on turnovers. The Broncos doubled Loyola Marymount’s rebounds – 48 to 24 – and also held a 12-3 advantage on offensive boards.
With last week’s 57-27 rebounding advantage (+30) against Illinois State (Nov. 17), the Broncos now have two games in the 2017-18 season where they have outrebounded their opponent by at least 20. Outrebounding two Division I teams by more than 20 in the same season marks the first time the feat has been accomplished in Rice's eight years at Boise State.
Before this season, Boise State had outrebounded teams by 20 or more in eight previous games during Rice’s tenure. Six of those eight games were against non-Division I teams.
“That’s part of our identity – we want to be relentless rebounders,” Williams said. “Tonight, we knew coming in that they crash the glass really hard. We decided to play some zone, so we knew we had to box out and guard some rebounds. That was just our emphasis and our key to the game."
Despite having 17 turnovers to the Lions 11, Boise State limited the damage by scoring 16 points off turnovers, compared to Loyola Marymount’s 13.
Both teams battled troublesome offensive efforts in the first half, with each team having stretches of roughly five minutes where they were held scoreless. Boise State was able to gain a sizable lead, but Loyola Marymount would mount an 11-0 run before Jessup would make one from beyond the arc to give the Broncos a narrow, 29-26 lead.
This was the fifth game this season that Boise State held their opponent to under 30 points in the first half.
The win improves Boise State to 5-1 on the season heading into Tuesday’s matchup with Loyola-Chicago, as part of the Mountain West/Missouri Valley Challenge. The Ramblers are 7-0 on the season and are coming off a win against Kent State, Saturday.
This will be the second meeting for the schools, with Loyola winning a neutral site game, 48-45 (Dec. 23, 2014). Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. (MT) at Taco Bell Arena.
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