Broncos let a big one slip away at TCU

Boise State's season is teetering on the brink after the Broncos collapsed over the final 9 minutes against TCU. The Broncos had a 14-point lead before being outscored 18-2 down the stretch to suffer a dreadful 54-52 loss on Jan 21 to the Horned Frogs in Fort Worth, TX. The loss dropped Boise State (10-8) to 0-3 in the Mountain West heading into Wednesday's home game against nationally ranked UNLV

Boise State knew the terrain would be tough in their inaugural season in the league and appeared to catch a break when they avoided UNLV, San Diego State and New Mexico over the first three games.

Instead, they failed to take advantage of the good fortune. Boise State needed to go 2-1 to be looked at as a threat to finish in the middle of the conference race. Now predictions pegging them as the worst team in the eight-team league look spot on.

The conference-opening home loss to Air Force was a major setback, but it wasn't a surprise that the Broncos lost at Colorado State in their second game.

But under any measure, failing to protect a double-digit lead against TCU rates as a huge disappointment.

The Horned Frogs were picked to finish seventh in the league -- one spot ahead of the Broncos -- and looked ready to fold when Boise State led 50-36. But the Broncos went nearly 12 minutes between field goals and let the Horned Frogs back in the game and ultimately paid the price with a painful defeat.

"The wheels came off a little bit with us," Boise State coach Leon Rice said. "We lost our poise. They made some big shots, some tough shots, and some big rebounds, too. It was a tough battle and we were there to steal one on the road and didn't get it done."

Buckner returns following eligibility review
--Junior center Kenny Buckner was back on the court against TCU after behind held out of a Jan. 17 loss to Colorado State while the NCAA and Mountain West officials reviewed his eligibility status.

Buckner, a junior-college transfer from the College of Southern Idaho, was cleared to play against the Horned Frogs two days prior to the game and had four points and five rebounds in 28 minutes.

Overall, Buckner is averaging 8.7 points and 4.3 rebounds, and the Broncos missed Buckner's presence against Colorado State when they were forced to go with a smaller lineup.

"He's a kid that's made a big jump," Boise State coach Leon Rice told the Idaho Press-Tribune. "He has a toughness about him. He can physically go toe-to-toe with guys in our league."

--The Broncos have already used nine different starting lineups this season after using just eight all last season. Ten different players have started games.

--Boise State is shooting just 31.8 percent from 3-point range in conference play.

0 --
Road wins in seven attempts for the Broncos.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "That's probably one of the biggest challenges that we face -- learning how to win on the road." -- Boise State coach Leon Rice.


--vs. UNLV, Jan. 25
KEY MATCHUPS: Boise State doesn't match up well with the athletics Rebels. The Broncos will have a hard time keeping rebounding dynamo Mike Moser from a double-digit board game and denying forward Chace Stanback from knocking down 3-pointers will also be a challenge.

--vs. Wyoming, Jan. 28
KEY MATCHUPS: The Cowboys will slow the game down and try to play the contest in the 50s, which isn't Boise State's type of game. The Broncos need a big game from up-and-down Ryan Watkins against stellar Wyoming forward Leonard Washington.

FUTURES MARKET: Boise State's lack of proficient scorers is becoming a problem as the schedule gets tougher. The Broncos had an early-season schedule of home games against inferior opponents and topped 90 points in four of their first eight games. That prompted the illusion they would be a high-scoring team, but the Broncos have scored under 60 in four consecutive games and making shots has become a lot tougher. Boise State needs to add a scorer to the mix for next season to help share the load with Anthony Drmic.

--Freshman G Anthony Drmic is starting to fade and shooting just 26.5 percent from the field in three conference games. Drmic is averaging a team-best 13.1 points.
--Freshman G Derrick Marks made his first career start against TCU and led the Broncos with 13 points and eight rebounds. --Senior PG Westly Perryman had just five points against TCU after tallying a career-high 16 against Colorado State.
--Sophomore G Jeff Elorriaga sustained an injury to his hand against TCU and is likely lost for the season according to Head Coach Leon Rice.

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