Boise's Search for 1st road win heads to TCU

Boise State Head Basketball Coach Leon Rice

Boise State will head back on the road and will try to snap its current three-game losing streak when the Broncos play Saturday at TCU. It's the first meeting between the schools on the hardwood. It likely will be the only time Boise State (10-7, 0-2 Mountain West Conference) plays at Fort Worth. Next season, the Horned Frogs are off to the Big 12 Conference.

Boise State will head back on the road and will try to snap its current three-game losing streak when the Broncos play Saturday at TCU. It's the first meeting between the schools on the hardwood. It likely will be the only time Boise State (10-7, 0-2 Mountain West Conference) plays at Fort Worth. Next season, the Horned Frogs are off to the Big 12 Conference.

Boise State is 0-6 on the road this season, something that will have to change if the Broncos hope to finish out of the basement. Coach Leon Rice's team was picked to finish last in the eight-team conference.

Rice said leading scorer Anthony Drmic (ankle) still isn't 100 percent, even though the freshman has played the past four games. The Broncos already lost freshman guard Igor Hadziomerovic to a season-ending foot injury, which forced the second-year coach to pull freshman guard Joe Hanstad out of a redshirt year.

One thing that would help Boise State is if it would get more inside scoring. The Broncos have become heavily reliant on the 3-point shot, and when the shots aren't falling, the offense stalls.

Such was the case Tuesday in a 66-55 loss at Colorado State, Boise State hit just seven of 24 shots (29.2 percent) from beyond the 3-point and just 22 of 65 (33.8 percent) from the floor overall.

TREND WATCH: Boise State started the season 8-1 and was averaging more than 85 points per game and twice scored more than 100 points in a game. In the past three games -- all losses -- the Broncos haven't scored more than 59 points.

NOTES, QUOTES

--It was a tough indoctrination to Mountain West Conference play for Boise State.

The Broncos are predicted to finish last in the eight-team league and the conference newcomers and did little to alter that perception by losing 74-59 at home to Air Force on Jan. 14.

The Falcons figure to be one of the few Mountain West teams that Boise State has comparable or better talent than and it was a disappointing loss when you factor in that Air Force leading scorer Michael Lyons was sidelined with an ankle injury.

"They made every big shot," Boise State coach Leon Rice said. "When they needed an offensive rebound, they seemed to get one. They just made big, big plays that kept us at arm's length. ..

"There are going to be good nights and there are going to be tough nights. and the thing that we have to have is we have to play our 'A' game every night to compete with these teams in our league."

--Freshman wing Anthony Drmic had just 11 points on 4-for-13 shooting against Air Force as he continues to play on an ailing ankle.

Drmic injured the ankle against Fresno State on Dec. 19 and seemed on the road to recovery when he scored a season-best 26 points against Idaho on Dec. 31. But the ankle regressed and even a 12-day break prior to Mountain West play didn't fully help.

"That thing was a lot worse than we thought," Broncos coach Leon Rice told the Idaho Press-Tribune. "For him to limp out there and get 26 against Idaho was amazing. The next day it swelled up."

Drmic is averaging a team-best 14.1 points and has easily been Boise State's top player.

--Boise State drew 7,875 fans for its first-ever Mountain West Conference game, a sharp improvement over the meager 3,502 average through nine nonconference home games.

--The Broncos had won 15 consecutive home games dating back to last season before losing to Air Force.

BY THE NUMBERS: 7 -- Number of times Boise State had made 10 or more 3-pointers this season, through Jan. 16.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We will have to do a better job on the road. Colorado State is playing terrific." -- Boise State coach Leon Rice.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL>
THIS WEEK'S GAMES:
--at TCU, Jan. 21


KEY MATCHUPS:
Point guard Westly Perryman has the chore of trying to shut down TCU standout Hank Thorns. Post player Ryan Watkins has the opportunity to fare well against the inconsistent frontcourt players of the Horned Frogs.

FUTURES MARKET: Boise State's depth has taken a hit due to the foot injury suffered by freshman guard Igor Hadziomerovic. The Aussie was averaging 7.0 points in 21.5 minutes before his season ended in mid-December. His injury leaves the Broncos with an eight-man rotation and is forcing sophomore guard Jeff Elorriaga to play more minutes and that isn't always a good thing for Boise State's defense. The Broncos have allowed 70 or more points in five of six games after opponents reached that total just twice over the first 10 contests.

PLAYER NOTES --Senior G Wes Perryman scored a career-high 16 points Tuesday in the loss at Colorado State. Perryman's previous best game was 15 points earlier this season against Long Beach State.
--Junior F Kenny Buckner did not make the trip to Fort Collins, Colo., as Boise State, along with the NCAA and Mountain West Conference, are conducting a review to determine if he is academically eligible. He will be out of action until the matter is resolved. Buckner transferred from the College of Southern Idaho.
--Sophomore G Jeff Elorriaga matched a career-high with four 3-pointers against Air Force. He was shooting 37.1 percent from 3-point range through Jan. 16.
--Junior F Jarrell Crayton made his first career start against Air Force. Crayton had played just 76 minutes all season before playing 13 minutes against the Falcons.



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