Jeff Elorriaga made three 3-pointers in the first 5 minutes, 17 seconds of Wednesday night’s win over Air Force. Considering he was coming off a 1-of-9 showing from long range Saturday, the relief on his face was clear.
“It felt good,” Elorriaga said after Boise State’s 77-65 victory. “I really dropped an egg against New Mexico, and that was kind of a bummer.”
Elorriaga was 5-of-25 on 3-pointers in the five games leading up to Wednesday. He was 5-of-12 on his 3-pointers against the Falcons.
“I haven’t worried about Jeff at all … he’ll work his way out of that, the ‘S’ word, and that he has the confidence to shoot out of it,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. “There’s no such thing as a slump with Jeff, that just increases his percentages on the next one when he misses one.”
Elorriaga didn’t play against the Falcons on Jan. 19 in Colorado Springs in a 91-80 loss. Elorriaga’s 17 points were his most since Jan. 9 and were one shy of the 18 points he’d scored In his last four games combined.
Rice said Elorriaga’s recent “S-word” wasn’t necessarily physical, as his concussion symptoms haven’t lingered, but that the concussion caused him to miss practice time and had been averaging 16 points per game in the six games before his concussion.
“With a concussion, you don’t get to practice and you don’t get to run around and shoot,” Rice said. “When you’re shooting, you need to work on it at game speed, and he couldn’t do that. I definitely think it made a difference.”
Ryan Watkins bounced back from a scoreless effort against New Mexico with six points and 10 rebounds Wednesday in 22 minutes. Kenny Buckner added six points and seven rebounds in the game’s other 18 minutes.
“They flew around great,” Rice said. “Ryan gets 10 boards and Buck gets seven boards. They were giving that supreme effort. That’s what makes them both better, is they can just hand the baton to the next guy.”
Redshirt freshman Darrious Hamilton, who has played in 15 games this season in a reserve role, was not at Wednesday’s game. Rice said he had strep throat and was kept away so as not to spread it.
Sophomore Derrick Marks had nine assists Wednesday, tied for his season-high, part of Boise State’s 22 assists on 29 field goals. Marks has 89 assists this season. He had 63 all of his freshman year.
“He had a good rhythm to him, a good flow to him,” Rice said. “He took what the defense gave him, I thought.”
Air Force coach Dave Pilipovich had plenty of kind words for Boise State after the game. Here’s some of his thoughts on Boise State, courtesy of The (Colorado Springs) Gazette’s Brent Briggeman:
“They cut so hard and they had us scrambling. We were trying to catch up to every pass. Give them a lot of credit, they made open shots, they had a lot of confidence, they had more energy than us. They were just really good. We were trying to catch them on every possession.”
“We played matchup, we played zone, we played man… we played it all. They were just good. They were really on.”
“Their physicality took us out of offense and times and took us out of sync.”