The 2018 Boise State Broncos won a grand total of 13 games. In five of those games, Derrick Alston was the leading scorer. Going into this season, most expected that if the Broncos were going to be successful, and win games then he would more than likely need to be the leading scorer. After the Broncos 65-54 win over Wyoming on New Year’s Day, that may not be the case.
The Broncos who now sit with a record of 10-5, (2-1) were able to scrap together a victory over the Cowboys Wednesday night despite Alston making only one field goal on a 1-10 shooting night. Alston whole was in foul trouble early after some questionable officiating on both sides was never fully able to get going and it showed. He played only nineteen minutes and totaled only 4 points to go along with 3 rebounds. In his worst performance since a Broncos victory over Pacific back in November, Alston looked at times as if he was trying to force points; instead over letting the game come to him as he so often does.
With that being said, despite Alston having an off game; the Broncos were still able to come out on top. With the help of Justinian Jessup (who has been on fire as of late, scoring 19+ points in 8 of his last 11 games) the Broncos were able to overcome a extremely slow start to win. After only scoring 10 points in the first 11 minutes of action, the Broncos were starting to look like a team who was about to suffer a very bad loss to a Wyoming team that came in with a record of 5-9.
Another key in the Broncos victory tonight was the strong play of senior RJ Williams. Coming off the bench, he was able to add 14 points to go along with 10 rebounds in 27 minutes of action. With multiple Broncos starters being in foul trouble early, Williams was able to come up huge off the bench for the Broncos who might not have pulled out a victory without his efforts.
But, the Broncos were finally able to hit their stride near the end of the second half with big plays coming from seniors Justinian Jessup and RJ Williams. Last year, and even at times this year if the Broncos had played as poorly as they did at times today, it would almost surely have resulted in a loss. Three of the Broncos five starters finished the game with less than 5 points (Jorch, Alston, Dickinson), and three of their five starters also finished the game with four fouls; (Kigab, Jorch, Alston).
However, if the Broncos are to compete with the best teams in this conference they cannot afford for three starters, mainly Alston to have poor performances like they did tonight. Wyoming is not a great team they came into this game losing six of eight previous games with those two wins coming over Nebraska Wesleyan (division three), and Denver University who currently sits at 4-11. When the trio of Alston, Kigab, and Jessup can put together complete games, I truly believe these Broncos can beat anyone in the conference. However, when they do not, they will end up in close games vs the likes of this Wyoming team, a team on the track for 20+ losses. Coincidentally, this was the first Bronco victory of the season in which they were unable to muster 70+ points. Coming into this game, the Broncos were 0-3 in such games.
As a team, the Broncos struggled from the field shooting just 39.4% overall and shooting an abysmal 20% from the three point line; whilst making only 3 total 3 point field goals in the entire game.
Next Up: On Saturday night the Broncos will travel to Reno, Nevada to take on the Nevada Wolf Pack, who at the time of this writing lead Colorado State 39-28. The Wolf Pack who will enter the contest with a record of either 9-5 or 8-6; are lead by junior guard Jalen Harris and coached by former New Mexico head man Steve Alford. In 4 games against Alford, Broncos coach Leon Rice has yet to pick up a win, with their last meeting coming in the 2013-2014 season before Alford left to take the UCLA gig,