BOISE — That’s a lot better way to start a season.
A year after losing in overtime to Idaho State in the season opener, the Broncos got 25 points from Derrick Alston and set a program record for points in a game in a 126-49 beatdown of visiting Life Pacific Tuesday night at ExtraMile Arena.
Seven players scored in double figures as Boise State (1-0) used a 30-0 run in the first half and never slowed, finishing with a 77-point margin of victory — also the largest in program history.
Not bad for game No. 1.
“I think it was great,” Alston said. “Especially with how the last group finished up getting the record and stuff like that, it was great for the young guys to get their feet wet and get ready to play some big time games. … It was good. We know offensively how good we can be, especially coming from last year.”
Justinian Jessup had 19 points, RJ Williams had 17 points and 14 rebounds and Alex Hobbs and RayJ Dennis each added 14 points for the Broncos, who also got 12 points from Max Rice and 10 points from Marcus Dickinson.
But maybe the coolest moment came when walk-on Bing Huang hit a step-back 3-pointer in the final minutes for his first basket as a member of the team. Huang and fellow walk-on Chase Berry combined for seven points as they finished the game with Dennis, Rice and Robin Jorch to help the Broncos surpass the previous school record of 118 points set back in 1971.
“I was proud of them,” coach Leon Rice said. “They played hard and they moved the ball and shared the ball and had a great fast break that impressed me and the way they penetrated and kicked impressed me and got each other shots. And they were the ones that topped off that school record for us.”
Last year’s overtime loss to the in-state Bengals proved to be a bad omen for what was to come. The Broncos are similarly hoping Tuesday night means good things are ahead. They went 17 of 31 from the 3-point line (55 percent) and held Life Pacific to 19 of 61 shooting (31 percent).
Boise State also had 25 assists while committing just eight turnovers and had a 51-22 rebounding advantage.
“In a game like that, you’re playing against human nature and playing against yourself and I wanted them to keep playing the right way and they did,” Rice said. “We had some great possessions where we moved the ball so well. When they move the ball and get each other shots like that, they’ll make them. I think we used up all our 3s for the season tonight though.”
Asked about the difference from the season-opening loss a year ago, Rice joked, “Boy, I’ll say. You didn’t have to remind me though.”
It was just one game, and it was against an extremely overmatched NAIA team. But the Broncos couldn’t have looked more impressive to start the season.
Boise State actually trailed 4-2 in the opening minute before Jessup hit a pair of 3-pointers, Alston had a dunk and Hobbs and Dickinson connected from long range to put the Broncos up 16-4. The run continued when Alston and RayJ Dennis hit long 3-pointers to make it 26-4.
Hobbs made another 3-pointer, Williams added a dunk, Jessup made a 3…and you get the point. When the barrage was over the Broncos had scored 30 straight points, and pushed the run to 46-6 to lead 48-10 on a pair of free throws from Hobbs with 5:30 still left in the half.
Boise State led 69-23 at the half, and the 69 points were the most they’ve scored in a half since the 3-point shot debuted during the 1986-87 season. It was more of the same in the second half despite emptying the bench — with the four available players they had — as the Broncos finished with the third-most points in a game in Mountain West history.
Last year the Broncos went 1-9 in games decided by three points or less or overtime. They didn’t have to worry about the game being close enough for that stat to matter Tuesday.
“We have a way better team this year,” Williams said. “All the guys love playing with each other. Last year was last year, but this year we started off right. That’s what we want to do every game. It won’t always be 120 points, but if we can accomplish the mission and go 1-0 every game, I think everything will take care of itself.”
Things will get a lot tougher starting Saturday when the Broncos travel to Eugene to play No. 15 Oregon. Tip off is scheduled for 9 p.m. MT and the game will be televised nationally by the Pac-12 Network.
BOISE STATE WOMEN ALSO ROLL IN OPENER
Ellie Woerner hit all three of her 3-point attempts and had 15 points off the bench and the Boise State women rolled to a 88-34 win over Lewis-Clark State in the first game of the double header earlier Tuesday.
Boise State had five players in double figures including Jade Loville and A’Shanti Coleman, who each had 14 points. Mallory McGwire had 11 points in her debut, while Jayde Christopher had 11 points and seven assists.
The Broncos led just 17-10 after the first quarter and 33-15 at the break, but used a 30-6 advantage in the third quarter to blow the game open.
“I thought third quarter we loosened up a bit offensively and Jade Christopher got going a little bit and we got Mallory established in the low post and we kind of relaxed and started hitting some shots,” Boise State women’s coach Gordy Presnell said. “For some reason I don’t know if it’s the first time out or what, but we came out pretty tight. First quarter the basket kind of shrunk on us, but I was really proud of us defensively. They had four field goals in the first half so it was a pretty good job defensively.”
Lewis-Clark State made just 9 of 43 shots from the field (21 percent), including just 2 of 14 from behind the 3-point arc. The Broncos meanwhile made 37 of 65 shots (57 percent) and hit nine 3-pointers.
Boise State (1-0) opens play in the preseason WNIT Friday night at 7 p.m. at ExtraMile Arena against Portland State.
“They were the Big Sky champs, so we’ll see how it goes,” Presnell said.