It’s been three days since one of the worst games in program history and Boise State coach Leon Rice still can’t believe what he witnessed.
The Broncos (3-3) shot a program-worst 22.4 percent and scored just 39 points in a 46-39 loss to CSU-Bakersfield last Friday.
“You think you’ve seen it all coaching a long, long time and I guess I hadn’t seen it all,” Rice said Monday. “It was a weird accumulation where everything went wrong shooting the ball. I’ve never seen anything like that in all my years of coaching and hopefully I’ll never have to see that again.”
CSU-Bakersfield was ranked nearly 200 spots below the Broncos in most computer rankings, and Boise State entered as a 15-point favorite.
But Boise State shot just 19 percent from 3-point range (6 of 32) in what was statistically the worst offensive performance in program history.
“I don’t want to be critical but I was sick to my stomach scoring that many points,” Rice said.
The Broncos will look to get back on track Tuesday night against Saint Louis, which is 6-1 after winning the Cancun Challenge last weekend.
KNOW THE FOE
Saint Louis ranks No. 91 at KenPom after going 3-0 in the Cancun Challenge to improve to 6-1 on the season. The Billikens only loss was on the road to a ranked Memphis team, 90-74, back on Nov. 16. Like the Broncos, SLU was on the NCAA Tournament bubble last season but landed in the NIT.
Gibson Jimerson leads the Billikens in scoring at 16.4 points per game. He was named the MVP of the Cancun Challenge after averaging 17.7 points per game in three SLU wins.
Three other players average in double figures for the Billikens including Marten Linssen (12.0 ppg), Jordan Nesbitt (11.0 ppg) and Terrence Hargrove Jr. (10.1 ppg).
“It’s another grinder, another physical team,” Rice said. “You look at all the teams we’ve played and there’s no coach in the country that would say oh I’d love to play those teams because they are grinders.
“Saint Louis has that SEC physicality and they are big and athletic and they’ve got a point guard who is maybe one of the best facilitators in the country. They have a lot of guys that can play and a lot of talent.”
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Tuesday’s game is a homecoming for Borah High School star DeAndre Jones, who joined the Billikens prior to the season as a transfer from Central Arkansas. Jones is averaging 5.1 points in 17 minutes off the bench. He’s expected to have 30-plus family and friends in attendance.
BY THE NUMBERS
88.4 – The Billikens rank No. 6 nationally in scoring at 88.4 points per game.
15.3 – SLU ranks No. 8 nationally in offensive rebounds per game at 15.3.
133 – The Billikens rank No. 7 in the country in both free throws made (133) and free throws attempted (178).
KEY FOR BOISE STATE
Sounds simple but the Broncos have to shoot better. Boise State made just 13 field goals against Bakersfield and shot 22 percent. Doesn’t matter how good your defense is, you’ll lose every game you play with those offensive numbers. Boise State has to find a way to get some confidence shooting the ball, or it could be another long night.
This is a big game for Boise State’s computer rankings and NCAA Tournament hopes. It’s a rare quality nonconference home game for the Broncos, and one they must win to have a shot for an at-large bid to the Big Dance come March.
The Billikens are a solid team from the Atlantic 10 and it’s a nice chance to get quality win. The Bakersfield game was a debacle, but the Broncos have a shot to turn the page and bounce back quickly
WHERE TO WATCH
Tickets remain at BroncoSports.com. The game will air nationally on Stadium, which is on the YouTubeTV sports package and also available over the air in Boise on channel 35.4 (KYUU-LD4). The game also will be streamed at WatchStadium.com.