Leon Rice

Anthony Drmic, Nick Duncan
Associated Press

Boise State hangs on for quality win over No. 24 Oregon

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With three of their four losses on the season coming against No. 13 Arizona (twice) and No. 1 Michigan State, Saturday night’s matchup with No. 24 Oregon provided Boise State with another opportunity to add a quality win to its résumé. And in spite of a shaky final two minutes in which they nearly lost the game, Leon Rice’s Broncos managed to hang on for the 74-72 victory.

And Boise State managed to win despite getting a relatively quiet night from forward James Webb III, who battled foul trouble for a significant portion of the game and finished with 12 points on 3-for-9 shooting to go along with five rebounds.

Senior guard Anthony Drmic, who still isn’t back to full strength after having to take a medical redshirt last season, scored a team-high 19 points with Mikey Thompson adding 11 and Chandler Hutchison (eight points, seven rebounds) making some key plays on both ends of the floor. Boise State didn’t have its best offensive night, shooting just 42.6 percent from the field and 11-for-29 form three. But they took a step forward defensively, which is key for a team with hopes of contending for a second consecutive Mountain West title.

Oregon finished the game shooting 43.1 percent from the field and they made half of their shot attempts in the second half. But it was Boise State’s defense for much of the game’s first thirty-four minutes that produced the hole that proved too deep for the Ducks to climb out of. Oregon shot 35.7 percent from the field in the first half, and while their turnover count of 11 isn’t a huge issue those mistakes resulted in 20 Boise State points on the other end.

When you’re having issues offensively as Boise State was, having those extra opportunities can be critical. Boise State led by as much as 17 in the second half before the shorthanded Ducks made their furious rally.

Did Boise State beat a full-strength Oregon? No. Jordan Bell’s finally returned to the lineup, and guards Tyler Dorsey and Dylan Ennis missed Saturday’s game. But that isn’t Boise State’s fault, and the Broncos themselves are still working to discover who they can be as a full unit. Boise State is still looking for the option who can fill the shoes left vacant by the loss of Derrick Marks, last year’s Mountain West POY who served as the team’s closer late in games.

That likely factored into their struggles down the stretch against Oregon, but with Drmic, Webb and even Thompson the Broncos do have players who could potentially fill that role. The finish wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but Boise State managed to hang on, adding a much-needed quality win to its résumé.

Boise State loses guard Harwell to torn ACL

Leon Rice
Associated Press
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Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.

Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.

Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.

Boise State lands second 2016 commitment

Leon Rice, Cade Price
Associated Press
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With four scholarship seniors in their perimeter rotation for the 2015-16 season, defending Mountain West regular season champion Boise State is in a position where they can use some additional depth for the future. Saturday head coach Leon Rice and his staff landed their second commitment in three days, with Colorado native Justinian Jessup announcing that he’s verbally committed to Boise State.

The 6-foot-4 Jessup, who was Class 4A Player of the Year as a junior at Longmont HS, joins another shooting guard in Alex Hobbs in Boise State’s 2016 class to date.

One of the other options Jessup had in his recruitment was to walk on (or join them after a prep year in 2016-17) at Colorado, with the Buffaloes at the time (May) having two perimeter commitments in guards Deleon Brown and Cameron Satterwhite. That situation changed some for Colorado this weekend, as Satterwhite decided to reopen his recruitment, and a possible backup plan for the Buffaloes is now off the table with Jessup committing to Boise State.

Boise State will lose Mikey Thompson, Montigo Alford, Lonnie Jackson and Anthony Drmic at the end of the 2015-15 season, and with the dismissal of Dezmyn Trent the Broncos have a need for additional perimeter options. Having Paris Austin and Malek Harwell, two guards they can build around in the future, on board learning from that experienced group of seniors will help the Broncos but so will their most recent additions.

Below are some highlights from Jessup’s junior season courtesy of Hudl.com.