Inside Slant: Boise State Basketball

Now that the Boise State men's basketball team has its first conference win, the Broncos hope a favorable schedule can help get them on a roll. Boise State (10-11 overall, 1-7 WAC) plays five of its next six games at Taco Bell Arena, starting with Saturday night's game against Fresno State. In the second half of WAC play, the Broncos have five home games and just three on the road.

GETTING INSIDE

Now that the Boise State men's basketball team has its first conference win, the Broncos hope a favorable schedule can help get them on a roll.

Boise State (10-11 overall, 1-7 WAC) plays five of its next six games at Taco Bell Arena, starting with Saturday night's game against Fresno State.

In the second half of WAC play, the Broncos have five home games and just three on the road.

Coach Greg Graham's team is hoping to climb out of last place in the WAC standings. Only the top eight in the nine-team conference qualify for the season-ending tournament that determines which team lands the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Boise State will try to snap a three-game losing streak at home. That's the Broncos' longest negative streak at home since the 2001-02 season.

BOISE STATE 77, IDAHO 67 (OT): Senior Anthony Thomas forced overtime by draining a long 3-pointer as time expired, and then Boise State went out and dominated the extra period to capture its first conference victory. Thomas led the Broncos with 17 points, while Ike Okoye posted a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Daequon Montreal (15) and Paul Noonan (10) also hit double figures for Boise State, which overcame 17 points and eight rebounds from Idaho's Kashif Watson and a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double by Mac Hopson.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Coach Greg Graham won his first 12 games against in-state rival Idaho before the Vandals swept both meetings last season. That was Idaho's first season sweep of the Broncos since 1998-99.

--Boise State began the week with no player among the top 13 scorers in the WAC. PF Ike Okoye was 14th at 13.3 points per game.

ON THE SPOT: Boise State continues to struggle from 3-point range. The Broncos entered Monday's game at Idaho ranked eighth in the conference with a 31.7 percent success rate from behind the arc. Against the Vandals, Boise State went 6-of-20 (30 percent).

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Guys are trying to make the play to put us over the hump. ... They're trying to make the play and carry the load versus letting the team do it and make it easier on themselves." -- Coach Greg Graham, in the Idaho Press-Tribune.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

SEASON RECAP: A soft nonconference season in which Boise State went 9-4 masked some of Boise State's problems, which were exposed once conference play began and the Broncos began to play decent teams every game. The combination of no go-to scorer and shaky defense contributed to an 0-7 start to conference play, although the improvement of senior PF Ike Okoye (13.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game entering the week) was a positive development.

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:
San Jose State 76, Boise State 74
Utah State 81, Boise State 59
Nevada 88, Boise State 82
Boise State 77, Idaho 67 (OT)

GAME PREVIEW:
vs. Fresno State, Saturday, Jan. 30
vs. Idaho, Saturday, Feb. 6
vs. Utah State, Thursday, Feb. 11
at Nevada, Saturday, Feb. 13

IN FOCUS: Boise State has three home consecutive home games coming up, beginning with the matchup against Fresno State on Saturday and including a quick rematch against Idaho. The homestand will be the Broncos' chance to climb a couple of rungs in the WAC standings, although Boise State has lost three home games in a row for the first time since 2001-02, the Broncos' first season in the WAC.

ROSTER REPORT:

--G La'Shard Anderson had seven assists in the win over Idaho, just one shy of his career-best total. Anderson has had more assists than turnovers in all but three games this season.

--G Anthony Thomas scored 17 points in the win over Idaho. The senior needs 69 points to reach 1,000 for his career.

--F Ike Okoye recorded his team-best fifth double-double of the season when he scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a win at Idaho.



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