BOISE, Idaho – Boise State almost pulled away in the first half on Tuesday night to beat Fresno State 63-53.
The team tied their season high in turnovers in the first half, when they scored 15 in the game’s opening 20 minutes. Early offensive production was difficult for the Broncos.
It took the team about five minutes to get their first bucket. Even with Boise State getting their offense going, they still trailed Fresno State for much of the first half, down by two points going into halftime.
Veteran guard Max Rice was responsible for a third of those first-half giveaways. After the game, he took full responsibility for the way the team turned the ball over.
Rice explained, “I’ll take the blame for that one.” I watched too much of Patrick Mahomes this weekend and I’m launching it on the court, and I need to be better than that.
Coming out of the halftime break, Boise State was a different team. They tied the game early when Marcus Shaver Jr. bridged in from mid-range. A few minutes later, Chibuzo Egbo also found the lead for Boise State from mid-range.
At halftime, head coach Leon Rice’s message to the team was simple. He reminded his team that, despite their first half struggles, they still had 20 minutes to play.
“We just took a few breaths,” Rice said. “Regrouped, and my message to him was ‘Tell me one game we won in the first half.’ Nobody. So, you just got to go ahead, flush it down, you got to take a deep breath and make yourself a little better. And that’s what these guys did.”
The Broncos led the rest of the game. His ability to fight through adversity is something Rice says shows his maturity.
As the game progressed, several Broncos players stepped up to seal the victory. Agbo, known for his ability to hit hard shots, hit two back-to-back threes. He says that as the game progressed, shots started opening up for him and his teammates.
“We’re two really good shooters,” Agbo said of himself and Max Rice. “And every team in the conference knows that. So every time they find us they’re not trying to get any takedowns. I think, even at the end of the game, everybody gets tired. You forget to scout a little bit and we just start opening up.”
The Broncos play again on Saturday evening as they take on Colorado State at the Extra Mile Arena. Tip-off is at 6 p.m. and you can watch the game from home on CBS Sports Network.