BOISE — Max Rice didn't even know it was a milestone night for his father, Boise State men's basketball coach Leon Rice
He ended up crashing Friday's celebration anyway.
On the same night the the elder Rice picked up his 200th career victory with a 86-49 victory against the College of Idaho, it was Max Rice who led the way.
The sophomore guard notched his first career double-double, scoring 16 points and 12 rebounds as the Broncos (2-1) won their home opener in a game that had been scheduled less than 24 hours earlier.
“Before the game, I just decided I got to play harder,” said Max Rice. “My shots weren't falling the first two games like I wanted, so the one thing I can control is just playing hard. That's what I did tonight, so I got to continue that, hopefully.”
Max Rice said he thinks he only ever once got a double-double while playing at Bishop Kelly, during a game against Fruitland. His previous career-high in points at Boise State had been 12, achieved twice last year. The six rebounds he pulled down last week in a win against Sam Houston State had been the most he'd had until Friday.
“I think he was mad because College of Idaho didn't recruit him,” Leon Rice joked. “He brings a lot to this team. He knows how to do dirty work, he's pretty scrappy. He's got good hands. I think he had a lot of steals too tonight. The ball was finding him.”
It was a game that came together at the last minute after Boise State's previous opponent, Montana Western, canceled on Thursday night due to COVID-19 issues. The Bulldogs were the second opponent the Broncos had scheduled for this weekend, as New Mexico had to postpone two Mountain West games earlier in the week.
“I'd really like to be able to really thank College of Idaho for being Johnny On The Spot for us,” said Leon Rice about the NAIA Yotes. “This happened last night. For them to be able to rally and get over here and play us, I'm so appreciative of them for doing that for us. We've done so much practice that you just got to get the uniform on and play through some stuff, get that game conditioning going and all that kind of stuff.”
College of Idaho coach Colby Blaine said the Yotes were wrapping up practice for a game Sunday against Dickinson State, a game which has since been canceled, when he glanced at his phone and noticed a bunch of mixed text messages about the opportunity to play the Broncos.
An hour later, a oral agreement had been made to play the game.
“We put together a quick scout and had a good game plan,” said Blaine. “And I thought we did a decent job of executing it. We were able to get in some player tendencies and show a couple actions, and I thought our guys did a really good job of understanding them.”
Leon Rice said the Broncos had about five minutes to watch film on the Yotes, who they last played in 2017.
“It's just a mentality, so what, now what,” said Abu Kigab, who led Boise State with 19 points. “It's going to happen to every team around the country, that's just how it is.”
The College of Idaho stayed with Boise State for a few minutes, but it didn't take long for the Broncos to take over. Boise State led 8-7 before a 20-7 run started building distance between them and the Yotes. A RayJ Dennis fast break dunk made it 28-14. After the Yotes cut the lead back down to nine, Derrick Alston keyed an 10-0 run with eight points to extend the lead to 40-21. The College of Idaho trailed by at least 20 the entire second half.
Alston finished with 14 points, while Emmanuel Akot scored nine points. Akot, an Arizona transfer, made his Boise State debut after staying home from last week's trip to Texas while in COVID-19 protocol.
“In a game like that it's kind of hard because he could have got any shot he wanted,” Max Rice said about Akot. “Against some better competition, like coming up against BYU, you'll really see what he can do even more. He shows it every day in practice, he can get to his spots, his midrange jumpers whenever he wants. I don't think he really showed everything he can do yet. There's still a lot more in store with him.”
Ricardo Time led the Yotes (1-1) with 17 points, while Jalen Galloway scored 15. The loss snaps a 26-game winning streak for the College of Idaho, which lasted more than a full year.
The College of Idaho's last loss had been on Nov. 29, 2019, a 86-76 loss to The Master's.
“Records are meant to be broken,” said Blaine. “Over the last seven years, this program has set a lot of records that will be things we look back on for a long time and be proud of. We're not thinking let's win 27, we just want to play the game that's in front of us.”