Game Recap: UC-Irvine 58, Boise State 50
Boise State struggles offensively in first away game of the season
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The Broncos cold shooting night delivers Boise State their first loss of the season.
IRVINE, CA–The battle of two of college basketball’s highly anticipated mid-major programs, Boise State (No. 77, KenPom) and UC-Irvine (No. 112, KenPom) certainly failed to live up to the hype. As both squads failed to break the 60-point mark in the Broncos 58-50 loss to the Anteaters on the road Saturday night.
Final score for Irvine.
Your Broncos are back in action in the Shriners Children's Charleston Classic on Thursday.#BleedBlue | #WhatsNext pic.twitter.com/F5UEyUKN7D
— Boise State MBB (@BroncoSportsMBB) November 14, 2021
“You can’t get an assist if you don’t make a shot,” Boise State coach Leon Rice on the Broncos offensive performance “You don’t get an assist for an attempt. You get an assist if you make a shot. And those numbers were horrendous.”
The Broncos as a whole shot a poor 32.2% from the field and an even more painful 13.6% from deep (just 3-22). While also struggling with effective ball movement, logging 10 turnovers to just 5 assists.
This was a close contest most of the way, with several lead changes throughout the game. Still, it only takes one bad run on offense or defense to lose a close game and the Broncos just couldn’t knock down shots
“Basketball is a game where you have to make some shots to win it, and we certainly didn’t do that,” coach Rice said. “We have good shooters and with shooters you don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill. The best way to shoot better is to take better shots, but we missed a lot around the rim too. We missed some layups.”
This was a close contest most of the way, with several lead changes throughout the game. Still, it only takes one bad run on offense or defense to lose a close game and the Broncos just couldn’t knock down shots.
“It was a back-and-forth game and we’d miss some layups and that got them to a four- or six-point lead and in a defensive struggle a four- or six-point lead is big.”
The turning point in this one came at the 9:00 minute mark in the second-half. As a 2-point jumper from Marcus Shaver Jr. gave Boise State a 1-point lead (37-36), their last of the game. UC-Irvine would go on to make the next eight points and would never lose control of the lead again.
The Anteaters were led by redshirt senior forward Collin Welp who logged 11 points, 7 rebounds & an impressive 6 assists for UC-Irvine. Joining the 6-9 forward in double digit scoring was sophomore guard Dawson Baker with 10 points & 5 rebounds.
Boise State: R-Sr. G Marcus Shaver Jr.-14 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals in 33 minutes
Shaver Jr. has been pegged for a larger scoring role in year two in Boise. And he gave an honorable performance in what otherwise will be coach Rice and his staff’s example of how not to play in every Bronco practice going forward.
Even though the 6-2 combo guard failed to log a single assist nor turnover. His game-high 14-points on 5-12 shooting was a bright spot for Boise State none the less. This to go along with 2 steals and 4-4 made free throws makes him the Broncos player Spotlight selection.
UC-Irvine: Jr. F Austin Johnson-5 points, 8 rebounds, 5 blocks & 2 steals in 27 minutes
It would have been very easy to choose the Anteaters leading scorer on the night Welp for this honor given his impact on the scoreboard. But after watching Johnson amass just as many blocks (5) as he did points (5) on the night, it felt only right to give the big man the spotlight.
Johnson, a 6-9 forward from Marietta, GA made his presence known against Boise State. Even though he was not excluded from a poor shooting night (2-7 from the field), Johnson shut down the paint with 5 blocks on the night and 2 steals in just 27 minutes of action.
The Broncos like most other programs around the country head into next week with a preseason multi-team event on the docket. Boise State will head to Charleston, S.C. as a part of the field in the 2021 Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic.
Their first game is against No. 23 St. Bonaventure Thursday November 18th at Noon MT. The Bonnies are one of college basketball’s most hyped programs at the moment and were pegged as unanimous favorites to win the Atlantic-10 this season. Coach Rice’s squad will need to have short memories and shake off last night’s shooting woes. With arguably the toughest part of their non-conference schedule upon them, they’ll be no room for error in Charleston.
Larry Muniz covers college basketball as a writer for Mountain West Wire and WAC Hoops Digest. Also as a co-host of the college basketball podcast “Hoops Talk W/Jay & Larry”. He is also a USWBA Member.