Ike Okoye gave it his all last night, exploding for 32 points and 14 rebounds. His great game was not enough to carry the Broncos to victory, as Boise State fell To Nevada 88-80 last night in overtime.
BoiseState in most sports in most
years has proven that a great team always beats a team of talented individuals.Last night, the coin was flipped.
Despite a career-high
evening from Ike Okoye (32 points and 14 rebounds), the Broncos fell to Nevada in Reno last night, 88-80 in
contributed 18 points in the losing effort and it was his three-pointer with 11
seconds remaining that forced overtime.
BoiseState got solid contributions
from Okoye, Montreal and Kurt Cunningham (11 points and five rebounds), but the
rest of the cast was a combined 7-for-35.
Luke Babbitt scored 27
points and Armon Johnson added 24 for the victorious Wolf Pack, now 15-9 on the
season and 7-4 in the Western Athletic Conference.Joey Shaw also had a solid game with 16 points and 12 boards for the
For BoiseState, it was just the latest
example of what appears to be a snakebitten team that can play the top teams in
the conference close only to fall short.As
is customary with Greg Graham-coached teams, the Broncos are beginning to peak
towards the end of the season and appear ready to take on the role of the team
that no one wants to play come tournament time.
If they qualify, that
Only eight of the WAC teams will be in the
postseason tourney and as of now, the Broncos are the odd team out.Graham's team is 11-14 overall but a depressing 2-10 in WAC play.That
non-conference schedule that featured mostly NAIA and Big Sky Conference teams
is now coming back to haunt BoiseState dearly.The Bronco team has four games remaining to try to improve their lot in
Once again, BoiseState blew a lead.They opened up a nine-point first-half lead at the other guy's house,
which is a tough place to play.Nevada came out of the locker
room and erased the deficit pretty quickly, controlling the lead most of the
second half.Still, the Broncos
refused to go away and Montreal's clutch shot meant an extra five minutes.
Nevada held a 77-76 advantage
with left but went on a 10-2
run to ice the game.Babbitt, whom
NBA scouts are salivating over, had eight of those 10 points.
By all rights, it was
clearly a game in which BoiseState should have prevailed.The Broncos had a 48-38 advantage in points in the paint, outpointed the
Pack 16-5 in second-chance points and the BoiseState bench outscored the
opposition 17-6.If the outside
shooters could have connected, there would not have been overtime.BoiseState was an unheard-of 1-17
from beyond the three-point line.Given
the success inside and the dismal performance outside, one would have thought at
some point they would quit shooting the threes and do what was working.But they didn't.One by
one, they continued to launch the long tries that went awry.
Another area in which
the game was decided was the foul discrepancy.Despite the fact that BoiseState outplayed Nevada inside as referred to
above, 25 fouls were called on the Broncos to just 16 on Nevada and the Pack received 36
free-throw attempts to just 20 for BoiseState.
Losing 10 of 12 WAC games will not get you a
lot of respect from the officials.Win
some games and that discrepancy may go away.
Cunningham connected on
four-of-seven shots from the field last night.He is far and away the team's leading shooter, hitting 58.7% of his
shots.In fact, Cunningham is
currently ranked as the #6 career leader in the history of BoiseState.He has hit 283-of-479 shots, a sizzling 59.08%.The popular star from Indianais ahead of Tanoka Beard
(58.7% from 1989-1993) and Bruce Bolden (57.4% from 1981-1985) and just behind
Danny Jones (59.4% from 1974-1978).
Paul Noonan, meanwhile,
was held to two points.Noonan was
0-4 in attempts to pass Brian King for 10th place all-time in career
three-pointers.Both are tied with
Okoye also had a block
last night after two games in which he came up empty.Okoye, with 39 this season and 99 for his two-year career, is now just
four swats away from tying all-time great Jason Ellis for fifth in career
blocked shots.Okoye's strong
rebounding performance went a long way towards giving him a chance to tie Bolden
and Pat Hoke for eighth all-time.That
pair averaged 7.0 over their careers; Okoye is just three rebounds shy of a 7.0
Anthony Thomas had six
points, four assists and a steal on the evening.That leaves him 40 points shy of being the 19th member of the
1,000-points club at BoiseState.With the likelihood that he may not play in the WAC Tournament, Thomas needs
to do it in six games.On the other
hand, if he can score 10 points a game over the four remaining WAC games, BoiseState very well could jump into
the tournament so as Thomas goes, so go the Broncos.
Thomas is 10 steals shy
of third all-time in that category.Gerry
Washington (179 career steals) currently holds down the position.Thomas is also 24 steals behind Joe Skiffer for #5—Skiffer had 343 from
BoiseState is probably glad to play
anyone not in the Western Athletic Conference.They'll get to do that Wednesday night against Cal State-Bakersfield
and in the Bracket Buster game at Taco Bell Arena Saturday night vs. UC-Davis.