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Broncos beat up Lewis-Clark State in exhibtion action

Broncos beat up Lewis-Clark State in exhibtion action
BOISE, Idaho—Boise State men’s basketball opened the 2013-14 season with an exhibition victory, defeating visiting Lewis-Clark State College 80-52 Friday, at Taco Bell Arena. Senior Ryan Watkins led the Broncos with 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting.

LCSC kept the game close throughout much of the first half, getting within two points at 27-25 with 5:15 left until halftime. That’s when the Broncos took over at both ends of the floor.

A three-pointer by Mikey Thompson was the first triple of the game for Boise State and started a 14-2 run. That spurt included a 46-second span during which Jeff Elorriaga knocked down a three-pointer, recorded a steal and an assist and drew a charge. The Warriors used two free throws with one second left in the half to draw with 12 at the break.

“I’m glad we played this team for our exhibition because this team can really score,” said head coach Leon Rice. “If you made a mistake, they made you pay. And you don’t want to play a team that doesn’t make you pay because then you don’t expose your mistakes.”

Watkins scored 12 of Boise State’s first 14 points, connecting on each of his first six attempts from the floor.

“I was feeling good,” Watkins said. “Everyone was giving me confidence and when you go out there and have these guys behind you, you feel like you can do anything.”

Eight of Watkins’ first 12 came in the paint as the rest of the Broncos continued to feed him.

“Ryan has worked really hard through the offseason,” said Rice. “You can see he has a nice touch. He has a good face up game and he can post you up, he’s crafty around the basket and one of the best things about this team is that they can identify who’s got the hot hand and they go to them.”

The Broncos remained in control during the second half. After LCSC scored the first basket to make it a 10-point game, Boise State went on a 19-5 run to put the game out of reach. The largest lead was 31.

Boise State limited LCSC to 36.2 percent shooting for the game and outrebounded the Warriors 45-30.

“I told our team that defense is a grind. It’s possession by possession,” said Rice. “You’re never going to shut anybody out and you’re not going to be perfect. But if you keep grinding it then you get better after every game.”

Igor Hadziomerovic added 13 points for the Broncos on 4-of-5 shooting from the floor and 4-of-4 free throws. Hadziomerovic also grabbed three rebounds, dished out an assist and picked up a steal in 16 minutes of action.

“Iggy has been playing well and he’s been practicing that way on a daily basis,”said Rice. “He creates a big problem for defenses when he goes north and south.”

Fourteen different Broncos logged floor time on the night, each playing at least four minutes, with 13 getting in the scoring column.

The win came in front of 3,467 fans at Taco Bell Arena. It is the largest exhibition crowd during the Leon Rice era at Boise State, surpassing last year’s attendance of 2,258.

Boise State will open the regular season Nov. 8, against UT Arlington. The game will tip at 8 p.m. (MT) or 30 minutes after the conclusion of the women’s regular-season opener against Southern Utah.
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