Video: Boise State coach Leon Rice talks about Broncos’ exhibition win

Boise State’s defense was tough Friday in the Broncos’ 80-52 exhibition win over Lewis-Clark State, but it still provided a good amount to work enough next week before Friday’s regular season opener against UT-Arlington.

The Broncos held the Warriors to 36.2 percent shooting (21-of-58), including 28.6 percent from 3-point range and outrebounded them 45-30. Boise State never allowed more than a 6-0 run in the win, but the Warriors kept it close early, trailing 27-25 with 5:15 until halftime before Boise State broke it open.

“There’s a lot we can take from it — we’ve got to get better at contesting shots through the whole 40 minutes of the game,” senior forward Ryan Watkins said. “Even though we got better in the second half, we’ve got to do it consistently.”

Rice pointed out that the Warriors have been averaging 104 points per game in their four games before playing the Broncos, and that he was happy to play a team that would take advantage of the Broncos’ mistakes, giving them a better idea of what to work on.

“This will be really good for us, but we have to get a lot better before was play Texas-Arlington,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said.
Derrick Marks and Anthony Drmic were a combined 4-of-16 from the field, and Rice noted that “it’s nice to score 80 points and not shoot the ball well like I know we can.”

Click here for my story from last night’s game.

Check out a gallery of photos from last night’s game here.

The Broncos will host UT-Arlington at 8 p.m. next Friday. The Mavericks went 19-14 last season, reaching the WAC championship game. The Broncos defeated the Mavs 64-46 on Jan. 2 in Arlington. Boise State will be tested by a defense that was 24th in the nation in field-goal percentage defense (39.1 percent) and allowed teams to shoot 41 percent the year before.

“One of the best in the country, consistently, year in and year out … it’s going to be a big challenge for the Broncos, we need a great crowd,” Rice said.

The announced attendance of 3,467 was the best for an exhibition under Rice. For last season’s exhibition, it was 2,258. In 2011, it was 1,599, and the two exhibitions in 2010 were 2,095 and 2,004.

Boise State junior guard Igor Hadziomerovic was sharp against the Warriors, scoring 13 points in 16 minutes, going 4-for-5 from the field and making 4-of-4 free throws.

“I was feeling good out there … it was good to be out there, feeling confident with these guys,” Hadziomerovic said.

I wrote about Hadziomerovic on Oct. 16 (here), and a big part of why the Broncos expect a big year from him is the confidence he mentioned — a foot injury he suffered as a freshman flared up again last season.

“Iggy even said to me ‘I was playing good,’ and I said ‘that doesn’t surprise me at all, because you have been playing good,’” Rice said. “He’s been practicing that way on a daily basis. He creates a big, big problem for defenses when he’s going north and south. He can finish at the rim and he can set up shooters.”

True freshman Nick Duncan, a fellow Aussie like Hadziomerovic, had eight points and five rebounds in 13 minutes. The 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward hit a pair of 3-pointers and was 2-for-2 on free throws.

“The beauty of Nick is that it’s a freshman, playing for the first time in the United States of America, under the lights in front of a crowd, and you’d never know that,” Rice said.

I wrote about Duncan in Friday’s paper. Click here for that story.

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