Now that the Boise State men's basketball season is in the rear view mirror, let us get a little bit of closure and somewhat a review of said season. Somewhat lofty expectations were placed on the Broncos by the fans and the Mountain West media. The Broncos were picked to finish second to San Diego State. The Broncos had even gotten two first place votes to San Diego State's 22. The media was kind of close when the Broncos ended up third after the regular season was done. Fresno State was picked to finish fifth, and then actually finished second after the whole season played out.
As for player accolades, James Webb and Anthony Drmic were both tabbed as preseason first team players by the media. Webb held true to the hype and finished on the media's first team roster. Mikey Thompson on the second. Drmic, hampered by his lingering ankle injury, managed to get an honorable mention vote. For the coaches votes, Webb got his first team honor again and Thompson, a third team.
So what doomed the Broncos this year? Bad second halves? Unmotivated play? Really bad time judgement on the part of refs? All of the above most likely. Let's look at the five worst losses of the season to see what went wrong.
5. At Montana, Nov. 13
Kind of a foretelling of how this season would go.
Bad fouls: Webb had four fouls when he checked into the game at the four minute mark in the second half, scored, then immediately fouled out by the 3:37 mark. It also did not help that Montana made 25-36 free throws. Boise State made 75% of their free throws. Yay! How many did they attempt? 12. Less enthusiastic yay?
Letting a double-digit lead slip: this was a thing in the second half of almost every important Boise State game. At the 10:45 mark in the second half against Montana, Boise State led by a game-high 11 points. All but to see it whittled down to nothing, then an eventual disappointing loss.
Cold three point shooting: the Broncos made eight 3-point shots. How many did they take? 26. This game was basically a snapshot to what would become Boise State's entire season. But as stunning as it was, it was hard to look past the positives this team had.
4. At UNLV, Jan. 27
Turnovers. Oh my word. Turnovers. 18 of them! 11 in the second half!!
And the worst thing? UNLV didn't even have a real head coach, having fired David Rice just 17 days prior! David Rice was a great recruiter, just not much of an X's and O's coach. Well, apparently, interim coach Todd Simon knew enough to work magic against the Broncos.
Yet another game that was in the Broncos' grasp, and they let slip away.
3. At New Mexico, Feb. 17
The story about this one is the epic second half collapse. This game is a tough one to think about because the Broncos lead 76-61 with 6:01 left in the second half. A 15 point lead, in men's basketball, with under seven minutes to go?! In short: the Broncos could have--no, should have--won this game.
But didn't. How?
Basically it all started with the foul magnet, Robin Jorch. Jorch fouled the Lobos' Tim Williams to give Williams two free throws. Williams missed the first (/fistpump) but then makes the second. Seemingly harmless, right?.
What are we to expect? The Lobos to just stop playing? That they were not going to score again for the rest of the second half? Well the the Lobos did NOT stop scoring. And, unbeknownst to the Bronco audience, that "harmless" foul would cause an avalanche of scoring.
A whopping 18-2 run for the Lobos in the matter of five minutes and thirty seconds.
In that stretch I counted all of these: three missed 3-point shots; two missed jumpers; three missed free throws; one missed layup; one made tip in by Webb.
Even just making the free throws could have been the difference in this game. But, unfortunately, getting cold from the floor is but one characteristic that this team suffered from and, well, they paid a hefty price.
2. At Air Force, Feb. 6
Guys, the Falcons are not particularly good at basketball. They also finished for the number 10 seed headed into the MWC tournament. They won five conference games all year. Just so happens that one of those wins was against the Broncos at the academy. The one positive thing about the the whole debacle was the Falcons went an impressive 12-5 at home. Which, interestingly enough, all their conference wins were at home.
One thing to learn from this game? Don't let a dude score 25 points on you. As the Broncos figured out CJ Siples was capable of doing. The guy also went off for seven rebounds and three steals.
Webb and Lonnie Jackson, combined, scored 28 points. Webb didn't get his usual double-double in this game, which probably hurts the Broncos' cause more than helps.
And, of course, the cold-shooting reared its ugly head. The #CityofThrees shot a whopping 5-22 from beyond the arc.
I will end this one on a positive note: the Falcons had an eight game losing streak but they managed to break that, at home, against the Colorado State Rams. So there's that!? Of course, then the Broncos came in right after and also promptly lost.
1. At San José State, Mar. 5
Not even sure what to say about this one. Especially about a team that the Broncos thumped 94-69. Except that San José State is even worse than Air Force in basketball. The Spartans went 4-14 in conference play.
You read that correctly.
The Broncos accounted for 25% of the Spartan's Mountain West conference wins. The Spartans were riding a six game losing streak headed into the conference regular season finale and the Broncos let their lethargic play end the regular season.
How'd that game go? Webb fouled out with just eleven points and seven rebounds. And the Broncos went 2-19 beyond the arc. Drmic was able to add 13 points and five rebounds. Basically sums it up right there. Rough one for sure.
The frustrating thing about every one of these losses could have (should have) been wins. In every game the Broncos could have been on the right side of the record book, but wasn't for one reason or another.
Please do not fret. Tomorrow we are going to go over the five best wins of the Broncos season and there were plenty of those. (Just wish I could have had the option of putting these over there.)