Derrick Alston Jr and the Boise State Broncos picked up a huge win over the Portland Pilots Monday afternoon in Honolulu, Hawaii. Heading into the Diamond Head Classic the Broncos knew two things; firstly in order to make a statement at the tournament they would need star player derrick Alston to have a multitude of great games. Secondly, they would be getting a huge addition to the team with Oregon transfer Abu Kigab being able to play at the start of said tournament.
After a terrible second half vs Georgia Tech on Sunday (which included a run in which the Broncos were outscored 20-2), the Broncos put together a great team showing in their win vs the Pilots on Monday afternoon. While Alston lead the way with a season high 32 points, he was also assisted with the help of a 17 point effort by senior Justinian Jessup.
While he was able to add 17 points in his first game of the season vs. the Yellow Jackets, Kigab seemed to struggle a bit vs the Pilots. He was only able to collect one rebound and three points to go along with one assist in his second career game with the Broncos. Going forward he will have to be a key asset for the Broncos if they hope to play will in the regular season, and if they want to make a dent in the Mountain West Tournament at the beginning of March.
The Broncos next game will be against either the Ball State Cardinals (6-5) or the UTEP Miners (8-3). This game will be for 5th place in the aforementioned Diamond Head Classic. While a 5th place game may not seem like a huge deal, with a win the Broncos would move to a record of (8-5). Following this tournament the Broncos will play CSU Northridge (3-10), Wyoming (4-9), Nevada (8-5) and UNLV (5-8). If the Broncos win the 3 of those games which they play below .500 opponents, and if they can find a way to beat Nevada, (remember the Broncos were able to beat BYU who just bombarded Nevada in a 33 point win). They will enter the game vs San Diego State with a record of (12-5). The Aztecs are currently (12-0) and ranked 15th in the country. Before they play the Broncos, the Aztecs will have to travel on the road to play a very good Utah State squad. That being said, the Broncos could use the confidence of a decent winning streak going into a matchup with a top fifteen opponent.
Going forward, it is clear that if the Broncos want to compete in the Mountain West conference, they are going to have to shoot well as a team. Sunday, vs the Yellow Jackets they shot 33% from the field and just 30% from three-point range. Monday, the Broncos shot 49% from the field.
As was seen in the first two games of this tournament, when the Broncos shoot well, even if they shoot decent, they can win. However, when they both shoot poorly while simultaneously not being able to stop their opponent, they stand next to no chance to being able to obtain a victory. Neither Georgia Tech nor Portland are great teams. In fact, the Broncos were favored in each game.
To go along with the above, the Broncos have found the win column when they can score at least 70 points. The Broncos 7 wins have all come when they can score at least 70 points. Their 2 losses came to Oregon in which the Broncos allowed a season high 106 points; and an 80-78 loss to New Mexico a team who is currently 12-2. Believe it or not, this Bronco team has the ability to make some noise this season. When they are able to work together as a team and shoot well they have shown that. While they currently stand at (7-5), they have looked like a team that in my opinion can do big things in this conference. They once again will have a chance to do so vs. either Ball State, or UTEP.