Nov. 12, 2016
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BOISE, Idaho Boise State men's basketball opened the 2016-17 season Saturday in electric fashion, scoring 43 points in the first half en route to an 85-46 victory over Northwest University at Taco Bell Arena. Chandler Hutchison scored a career-high 23 points to go with a career-high-tying 11 rebounds.
"We're not expecting to roll in anywhere and have every night go like this," said Boise State head coach Leon Rice. "But, with all these new, young guys, we needed to build up. If you throw them in the deep end right away, they'd drown."
The Broncos never trailed in the game, breaking an early 3-3 tie with a 14-0 run. Boise State led 43-20 at halftime and by as many as 44 in the second half.
David Wacker opened the contest with a dunk and freshman Justinian Jessup was 3-for-3 from beyond the arc in the first eight minutes to set an early tone.
Hutchison and Jessup both scored in double digits before halftime.
The 23-point output for Hutchison - on 9-of-10 shooting from the field - along with 11 rebounds marks the third double-double of his career and the seventh by a Bronco in a season opener since 2000. The last Bronco to score at least 20 points with 10 rebounds in a season opener was Reggie Larry, Nov. 9, 2007 against Utah Valley.
Jessup became the fourth true freshman to start a season opener in the past 12 years. The guard from Longmont, Colo., delivered with 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists in 23 minutes of action.
"Number one, he is such a smart player," Rice said on the decision to give Jessup the start. "He's just one of those guys who is going to be a cornerstone player in this program for a long time; but It's not just we're playing for the future, he is a good player right now."
Fellow freshman Alex Hobbs added 11 points on 3-of-7 shooting.
Hutchison opened the second half with a drive to the line, two finishes in transition and a three-pointer to score nine points during a 15-2 run over the first 4:08 of the period.
The win improves Boise State to 40-9 in home openers, of which the Broncos have won the last 14.
Seven players made their Boise State debut against Northwest, combining for 101 minutes and 38 points.
The Broncos won the rebounding battle, 50-27, and held the Eagles to 28 percent shooting from the field.
"I think there are some things we are doing well, and one of those things is rebounding," Rice said. "We don't give up a whole lot of uncontested, easy rebounds."
Boise State will continue their season at the Gildan Charleston Classic, Nov. 17-20, in Charleston, S.C. The Broncos will open the tournament against the host, College of Charleston, on Nov. 17 at 5 p.m. (MT) on ESPN3.
"It's good to roll forward and roll away to Charleston with a bit of confidence," senior forward Nick Duncan said. "It's really exciting to see where we can go from here."