Road woes still a major concern for Broncos

Boise State didn't win a single road game during its nonconference slate and the 0-5 road mark raises concerns over how competitive the Broncos can be in their first season in the Mountain West Conference. The conference has some of the toughest road venues in the Western half of the country in New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV...

Boise State didn't win a single road game during its nonconference slate and the 0-5 road mark raises concerns over how competitive the Broncos can be in their first season in the Mountain West Conference.

The conference has some of the toughest road venues in the Western half of the country in New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV. Throw in Wyoming's altitude and Colorado State's recent rise and winning on the road figures to be a major challenge for a team that lost at places like Denver and Fresno State.

The conference has some of the toughest road venues in the Western half of the country in New Mexico, San Diego State and UNLV. Throw in Wyoming's altitude and Colorado State's recent rise and winning on the road figures to be a major challenge for a team that lost at places like Denver and Fresno State.

The Broncos (10-5) never led in their final conference tune-up while falling 72-59 to Fresno State on Jan. 2. Boise State's largest deficit was 19 points and leading scorer Anthony Drmic was a nonfactor with just seven points on 1-of-7 shooting.

"We came out and they socked us in the jaw and we were still standing in the corner," Boise State coach Leon Rice said afterwards.

The Broncos don't play again until starting conference play at home against Air Force on Jan. 14. That gives Boise State plenty of time to tinker with its attack and figure out how to patch up deficiencies.

Then comes the challenge of trying to win in the Mountain West -- home or away -- for a team with a bevy of young players.

"You have to play high-level games to compete in that league," Rice said. "This league is phenomenal. We're going into it with a young, young team and that's one of those deals where we can't look too far ahead."

NOTES, QUOTES
Broncos struggling to score away from home

--Boise State's 59-point showing against Fresno State was its second-lowest output of the season.

The Broncos scored a season-low 45 against LSU on Dec. 10. Boise State has scored 62 or fewer points four times and all of the poor outings have occurred on the road.

Boise State is averaging just 58.0 points in five road games. The Broncos have scored 70 or more in every home game.

--The Broncos were just 6-for-22 from 3-point range against Fresno State. That matches for the second-fewest made 3s in a game this season. Boise State made just two in a road loss to Denver on Dec. 17.

--Boise State committed 13 turnovers against Fresno State after having just 15 miscues combined in the previous two games against Iowa (eight) and Idaho (seven).

BY THE NUMBERS: 11 -- The number of steals by point guard Westly Perryman over the last five games.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Injuries set you back a little bit but we're growing at a good rate. You have to look at it and appreciate our freshman. It makes for a bright future." -- Broncos coach Leon Rice on the progress he's been seeing.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAMES:
--vs. Air Force, Jan. 14


KEY MATCHUPS: Boise State will be looking to play the game at its pace and not that of the deliberate Falcons, who are expected to be without athletic guard Michael Lyons. The Broncos also will rely on Ryan Watkins and Kenny Buckner inside against Air Force, which lacks inside muscle.

FUTURES MARKET: Sophomore post player Ryan Watkins disappears in stretches and the Broncos would like a steadier performance from him in Mountain West play. Watkins is the squad's leading rebounder at 4.8 but doesn't pack a firm presence on the defensive boards -- 34 of his 72 rebounds have come on the offensive glass. Players like New Mexico's Drew Gordon and UNLV's Mike Moser could have big rebounding games against Boise State.

PLAYER NOTES

--Freshman F Anthony Drmic
had just seven points against Fresno State for his second-fewest points of the season. Drmic was scoreless in 28 minutes against LSU on Dec. 10. He's averaging a team-best 14.4 points.

--Junior C Kenny Buckner had a team-high 13 points against Fresno State for his sixth double-digit outing of the season.

--Sophomore G Jeff Elorriaga is just 5-for-19 from 3-point range over the last four games.



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