Looking at the non-conference schedule for the Broncos, it was apparent that this team would be tested early and not be able to ease into 2022.
South Dakota State, out of the Summit League, has made the NCAA tournament six times since 2012, including last year as a #13 seed. They suffered a heart-wrenching loss in overtime against Akron in their opener. They regrouped, and the Jackrabbits paid it forward in a last-second win over Boise State.
Key Team Stats of the Night
South Dakota State - 38.9%
Boise State - 21.1%
South Dakota State - 6
Boise State - 12
South Dakota State - 19
Boise State - 14
Matt Dentlinger (SDSU) - 19 points
Max Rice (BSU) - 21 points
Alex Arians (SDSU) - 6 rebounds
Marcus Shaver Jr. (BSU) - 6 rebounds
Alex Arians (SDSU) - 4 assists
Marcus Shaver Jr. (BSU) - 5 assists
Story of the Game
Boise State’s offense got off to a sluggish start as they were held scoreless for the first six minutes of the game. From the get-go, it was visible that the cohesion and chemistry on the Bronco sideline was lacking. It wasn’t an effort-issue as much as it was a lack of real-time, on the floor experience. Starter Chibuzo Agbo picked up two early fouls, forcing head coach Leon Rice to sit him for a majority of the first half. Tyson Degenhart looks to be the predominant focus on the offensive end as he worked from the post time and time again. The Broncos would be wise to utilize Degenhart’s smart and decisive decision-making in creating open looks via off-ball movement.
As the game approached halftime, the Jackrabbits extended their lead to 12 with four minutes remaining. It felt as if the game may be headed towards a point of no return, but the energy of sixth man Naje Smith kept the Broncos alive. His customary willingness to dive for loose balls and be in the thick of the action inside sparked a late resurgence that was capped off by a pair of Max Rice jumpers to bring Boise State to within two possessions.
Despite some early woes, the Broncos only trailed by five at the break.
A back-and-forth beginning to the second half allowed the Broncos to stay in striking distance. Multiple three-pointers by Rice implored the crowd of 9,796 to their feet. A 7-0 run fueled by defensive stops brought Boise State back to square one, tied at 55 via a Jace Whiting breakaway layup. Two minutes later, Marcus Shaver Jr. made good work of a Rice steal that gave the Broncos their first lead of the game with 8:43 to go. Momentum would fade, though, as three consecutive turnovers stymied the offense and allowed South Dakota State to weather the storm.
From the 2:50 mark, neither squad could land a finishing punch.
Then, opportunity fell at the feet of senior guard Marcus Shaver Jr.
Two free throws to give the Broncos the lead with 23 seconds left.
The first clanked off the back of the iron.
The second fell just short, hitting the frontside of the rim.
The Jackrabbits played for the last shot.
A drive to the rim, followed by a touch pass over the head of Degenhart allowed Matt Dentlinger to put in a two-foot layup to take the lead.
A half-court pass to Max Rice gave him a shot for the win, but his legs gave out on him, leaving the shot short and wide left.
Boise State Broncos (0-1) 66
South Dakota State Jackrabbits (1-1) 68
Boise State is testing itself early with a difficult non-conference schedule. The Broncos will battle Washington State on Saturday at Idaho Central Arena in Boise, Idaho. The matchup is, by the letter of the law, a neutral site game that will count as a Quad 1 matchup. The Cougars are coming off of a win in Pullman against Texas State 83-61.
Look for a preview to be posted on Saturday.
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