Inside Slant: Boise State Basketball

Boise State's season is unraveling, and the Broncos don't appear to have any easy answers. They aren't playing particularly good defense, don't have a go-to scorer and their confidence could certainly be waning after dropping to 0-6 in the conference. Basically, it looks as if Boise State has a collection of good players who just aren't capable of keeping pace in an improved WAC...

GETTING INSIDE

Boise State's season is unraveling, and the Broncos don't appear to have any easy answers.

They aren't playing particularly good defense, don't have a go-to scorer and their confidence could certainly be waning after dropping to 0-6 in the conference.

Basically, it looks as if Boise State has a collection of good players who just aren't capable of keeping pace in an improved WAC that has several elite players.

Boise State fell to 9-10 overall with an 81-59 loss to Utah State on Jan. 16. 

"Their personnel is really athletic and long and skilled," Utah State coach Stew Morrill said of the Broncos.

But he said that before the game, and the long and skilled athletes didn't help much. That was the worst of Boise State's six league losses.

"We're just having a hard time playing the whole 40 minutes," forward Reggie Arnold said in the Idaho Statesman. "We got it down to eight and just quit. They didn't stop -- they were relentless on us."

NOTES, QUOTES

--Boise State wasn't helping itself at the free throw line, entering this week ranked seventh in the nine-team WAC with a percentage of 69.2. In a two-point loss to San Jose State on Jan. 14, the Broncos were a miserable 7 of 16 from the line.

--Boise State is 0-16 all-time against Utah State in Logan, Utah.

--The Broncos enter the week with a six-game losing streak. That's the longest in the tenure of coach Greg Graham, who is in his eighth season in Boise.

ON THE SPOT: It's hard to single out one or two players, but the Broncos need to play better collective defense. In their first six WAC games -- all losses -- they were allowing 78.5 points per game and allowing teams to shoot a staggering 50.3 percent from the field.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "The big thing is not to cash it in. We've got to hang in there. Perseverance is the name of the game." -- Coach Greg Graham, after the Jan. 16 loss at Utah State.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

SEASON RECAP: The nonconference season went OK, but Boise State wasn't often tested. With three returning starters, plus the addition of junior college transfers Robert Arnold and Daequon Montreal in the frontcourt, the Broncos figured to be competitive in the WAC on the heels of a season in which they went 9-7 in the league, but Boise State has slid while much of the rest of the WAC is improved.

PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- PG Anthony Thomas, G La'Shard Anderson, SF Robert Arnold, F Daequon Montreal, PF Ike Okoye. Key Subs -- C Kurt Cunningham, SF Paul Noonan, C Zack Moritz

GAME REVIEW:
Louisiana Tech 79, Boise State 64
San Jose State 76, Boise State 74
Utah State 81, Boise State 59

GAME PREVIEW:
vs. Nevada, Wednesday, Jan. 20
at Idaho, Monday, Jan. 25
vs. Fresno State, Saturday, Jan. 30
vs. Idaho, Saturday, Feb. 6
vs. Utah State, Thursday, Feb. 11

IN FOCUS: The good news is that, starting with the game against Nevada on Wednesday, Boise State has four of the next five at Taco Bell Arena. The bad news is that some of the WAC's best teams are included in that stretch. Boise State is going to have to play better team defense to pull out of its tailspin.

ROSTER REPORT:
--F Daequon Montreal started against San Jose State and Boise State in place of C Kurt Cunningham, who came off the bench. Montreal enters the week averaging 8.9 points and 5.7 rebounds.
--Senior G Nate Larsen came off the bench late the blowout loss to Utah State and scored his first career basket for the Broncos.
--F Robert Arnold scored 12 points against Utah State on Jan. 16 and was the only BSU player in double-digit points.



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