Daequon Montreal is from Syracuse but he's right at home in Boise.
Montreal, a 6-7 forward who averaged 15.9 points and 8.9 rebounds last season at the College of Southern Idaho, moved into the starting lineup for the San Jose State game on Jan. 14, and has helped brighten the outlook for the Broncos..
Boise State lost its first seven conference games, but bounced back a bit with league wins over Idaho and Fresno State last week. Montreal has had something to do with that, as he is averaging a team-best 13.9 points in WAC games.
"With his athleticism, he can make some spectacular plays -- whether it's blocking shots, dunks, getting to the basket or getting rebounds," coach Greg Graham told the Idaho Statesman.
Montreal is averaging 9.5 points and 5.5 rebounds for the season. He has replaced center Kurt Cunningham in the starting lineup, giving the Broncos a sleeker look for the fast-paced game Graham wants to play, including a full-court press with Montreal up top.
He had a key steal and basket off an inbounds pass with 2:27 left to tie the game at Idaho on Jan. 25, as the Broncos went on to a 77-67 victory in overtime.
"He's hard to throw over or around," Graham said.
--Boise State split the season series against Fresno State with its 65-49 victory over the Bulldogs on Jan. 30. FSU was without injured star wing Paul George, and Boise State held the Bulldogs to 1-of-15 shooting from 3-point range.
--The win over Fresno State broke a four-game home losing streak, which was Boise State's longest skid at home since the 2001-02 season.
ON THE SPOT: C Kurt Cunningham has been the odd man out in Boise State's latest lineup change, coming off the bench in the past five games, with F Daequon Montreal the new starter. Cunningham has to stay ready. Although he played only nine minutes in a win over Idaho on Jan. 25, he came off the bench for 26 minutes -- with 13 points and five rebounds -- in the 65-49 win over Fresno State on Jan. 30. The Broncos don't have a lot of options off the bench, so Cunningham remains key, especially when the matchups call for a bigger body.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Once we got over that hump, we got our confidence back. When you go through a slump like that, you start questioning small things. After that win, it seemed like everyone was more upbeat, we had a great week of practice and it carried over onto the floor." -- C Kurt Cunningham, in the Idaho Press-Tribune, on getting the first conference win of the season against Idaho on Jan. 25.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
SEASON RECAP: Boise State has had trouble identifying a go-to scorer, and its defense has been shaky when it matters most, as the Broncos allow conference opponents to shoot 48.2 percent. After starting 0-7 in the conference, they won two league games to move into a tie for eighth with Hawaii. Those two teams, plus Idaho, appear as if they were battle to avoid being the last-place team, which does not advance to the WAC tournament..
vs. Idaho, Saturday, Feb. 6
vs. Utah State, Thursday, Feb. 11
at Nevada, Saturday, Feb. 13
vs. Cal State-Bakersfield, Wednesday, Feb. 17
vs. UC Davis, Saturday, Feb. 20
IN FOCUS: The rematch against Idaho could be key in positioning in the league standings, as the winner gets a leg up in avoiding a last-place finish. Boise State pulled out a victory at Idaho on Jan. 25 as senior G Anthony Thomas forced overtime by hitting a long 3-pointer at the regulation buzzer. The Broncos then pulled away in overtime for a 77-67 victory. PF Ike Okoye had 16 points and 11 rebounds for BSU.
--Junior G La'Shard Anderson is averaging 2.5 steals per game -- second in the WAC -- and his total of 55 steals is tied for ninth on Boise State's single-season list.
--Senior G Anthony Thomas scored seven points in the win over Fresno State. The senior needs 62 points to reach 1,000 for his career.
--F Paul Noonan came off the bench to hit 4 of 9 3-point shots against Fresno State. He leads a subpar Boise State outside shooting game by hitting 36.5 percent of his attempts from behind the arc (35 of 96). The Broncos make just 31.5 percent of their 3-point tries.