Boise State’s Hadziomerovic dealing with rib injury, Elorriaga talks drought (w/video)

Boise State junior guard Igor Hadziomerovic, who had started 25 straight games before playing just four minutes Saturday and zero Tuesday, is dealing with an injury, coach Leon Rice confirmed Friday.

“I think he’s feeling a little better, he’s got a broken rib,” Rice said. “He wasn’t feeling that great, we’ve got to get him back, get him playing his best basketball … you’re going to have guys getting hurt.

“I think he’ll be ready to go full speed Saturday.”

The Broncos host San Jose State on Saturday at 4:05 p.m. on ROOT.

Hadziomerovic is averaging 4.8 points and 3.8 rebounds per game this season. He was replaced by Thomas Bropleh on Saturday and Nick Duncan on Tuesday in the starting lineup. Rice said he was still not sure on who would start against the Spartans.

Senior Jeff Elorriaga was averaging 12.9 points per game before the Broncos headed to Hawaii for three games Dec. 22-25. In the nine games since their arrival, he is averaging 4.8 ppg, including three scoreless games.

“It’s tough, when there’s a guy in your face every time you cross half-court, it gets a little old, but if it opens up driving lanes for everyone else, I’m fine with that,” Elorriaga said.

Since hitting 4-of-10 3-pointers on Jan. 4 against Fresno State, Elorriaga is 3-of-19 on 3-pointers. Though he opts to be the sort that doesn’t mind going scoreless if his team wins, Elorriaga is hoping for a breakthrough sooner than later.

“It’d be nice, because it’s been a while since I’ve seen the ball go through the hoop more than once or twice,” Elorriaga said.

Elorriaga isn’t terribly far behind his pace last season. He’s making 2.6 3s per game on 5.4 attempts per game. Last season it was 2.9 and 6.5. His 47.4 3-point percentage is still ahead of last season’s 44.7. Still, the senior kind of saw it coming, and said the team has worked on ways to get him more open off screens in recent weeks.

“It’s a little frustrating, yeah, it’d be nice to get some open looks, but beggars can’t be choosers,” Elorriaga said. “Going into the year, I had a feeling guys wouldn’t let me shoot as much as I did last year.”

Though Elorriaga has often been handcuffed on the perimeter, Duncan has been a sharpshooter. The freshman has averaged 9.8 points per game in the Broncos’ six Mountain West contests. His 53.3 percentage from 3-point range in conference games is No. 1.

The 6-foot-8 forward also is third on the team with 4.7 rebounds per game in conference.

“He’s really important to this team and this program, moving forward,” Rice said. “… his rebounding has gotten better and better.

“You know they’re good shooters when you’re surprised when they miss, and that’s how I am with Nick.”

As Elorriaga has been focused on, it has given a bit of breathing room for Duncan.

“I told Nick ‘enjoy those open shots,’ because when you get older, they don’t come as easily,” Elorriaga said with a laugh.

The Broncos are 3-3 in Mountain West play thus far, but have had two losses come at San Diego State and New Mexico, two of the toughest places to play in the West, or perhaps the country. Rice stressed that the Broncos still have a dozen league games left, and they get those tough foes in Boise.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Rice said. “Your body of work is judged in March, not Jan. 25.”

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