BOISE — Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way first: It was an unfair fight from the start.
Boise State’s exhibition opponent drove 13 hours in a pair of 15-passenger vans and had just two players on the roster taller than 6-foot-3. They came for the experience and, more importantly, the paycheck.
But there was still plenty to like about Boise State’s performance Thursday night.
Derrick Alston had 16 points and seven rebounds and Robin Jorch had 15 points to lead five Boise State players in double figures, as the Broncos crushed West Coast Baptist, an NAIA team, 95-34 in the first game at the newly named Extra Mile Arena.
“Mission accomplished,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. “I was really pleased.”
It was a sparse crowd due to Halloween, but those that showed up were treated to quite the show. The Broncos had four dunks in the early going, banged in long 3-pointers and did pretty much whatever they wanted against the overmatched Eagles, who lost 112-54 at UNLV six days ago.
The Broncos are confident they will be much improved from last year’s 13-20 season, and that looked to the case. Boise State led 51-17 at the half and extended the lead to as much as the final margin in the second half. The only drama was whether the Broncos would get to 100 points, which they didn’t due to a pair of missed shots in the final minute.
“Games like this you just want to focus on yourself and I felt like we did a good job moving the ball and sticking to what we do,” said Jorch, who played his first game in nearly 18 months after redshirting last season due to an injury. “The goal for us was to do what we do, stick to our game plan, getting everybody touches and making us hard to guard.”
Freshman RayJ Dennis had 14 points while RJ Williams had 14 and 11 rebounds and Justinian Jessup had 11 points. None of Boise State’s starters played more than 20 minutes.
The Broncos shot 54.5 percent from the field (36 of 66) and made 11 shots from behind the new, longer 3-point line. They held West Coast Baptist to 24.1 percent shooting (13 of 54) and had a 51-23 advantage on the boards.
One of the only negatives was the shooting of redshirt freshmen Max Rice and Riley Abercrombie, who are expected to be key contributors off the bench. They combined to go just 1 for 13 from the 3-point line.
“There was definitely some first-game jitters, but we got that off our shoulders, so it will help us in the long run,” Max Rice said. “I had to go back to my roots with the post up game because I couldn’t make a 3 tonight.
“I don’t really think we showed it tonight with our percentages, but with what we’ve been doing in practice we know what we can do in games and it will carry over eventually. Hopefully next game we can show what we’ve been doing.”
Alex Hobbs added nine points, Rice had seven and Abercrombie had six for the Broncos, who had 24 assists on 36 made baskets.
Boise State played without transfers Abu Kigab and Emmanuel Akot due to NCAA rules. The Oregon transfer Kigab will be eligible at the end of the first semester, while Akot is awaiting word on his appeal to the NCAA to play immediately this year. The Broncos are hopeful to have resolution on the Arizona transfer’s status by Tuesday’s season opener against Life Pacific.
Boise State led 20 seconds into the game on a layup from Justinian Jessup and never trailed again. A dunk from Williams, a layup from Hobbs and back-to-back dunks from Alston made it 10-0 barely three minutes into the game.
Another dunk from Williams, a 3-pointer from Jessup and a layup from Jorch made it 17-0 before W.C. Baptist finally got on the board with a 3-pointer from Ian Russell with 13:30 left in the half.
Consecutive 3-pointers from Rice and Hobbs and the third dunk of the game from Williams pushed the Boise State lead to 30-8. The Broncos continued to pour it on, as a jumper and long 3-pointer from Alston made it 42-11 with 5:30 left in the half.
It was more of the same in the second half, and the score would have been much worse had Rice not sat the starters for a good majority of minutes. Walk-ons Bing Huang and Chase Berry each got eight minutes of playing time.
“That’s the value of having an exhibition game,” Rice said. “It’s not about the opponent ... it’s about getting these guys under the lights and getting the nervousness and pregame jitters of playing with music and in front of some people out of the way, and I think that was really good.”
Dennis went 4 of 6 from 3-point range while playing 25 minutes. He showed off an impressive all-around game, throwing down a dunk in transition late in the second half.
“It felt really good,” Dennis said. “I’m just happy to be out here. The first half I was able to get kind of the jitters out of me and then the second half I was able to come out and play a little better so that was good. … I pride myself on making my teammates better so whatever I can do to help them.”
Boise State will open the regular season Tuesday at 8 p.m. against Life Pacific at ExtraMile Arena before playing at No. 15 Oregon on Nov. 9.