The lead was waggling back and forth early, and Boise State got ahead of Utah State 10-8. The Aggies blinked. Six minutes later, they were down by 18 at 29-11, and they still haven't recovered.
Utah State's basketball team fell to 0-4 for the season with its third straight poor first half, falling 89-77 to the Broncos, who moved to 4-1, Saturday night in the Boise State Pavilion.USU did trim the lead to six points with less than a minute left in the second half but never really threatened.
"A terrible first half again," said Utah State Coach Kohn Smith. "Our team really needs to have some success. We've got to get away from these runs."
The Broncos built their early lead on four three-point shots. The fourth three-pointer gave the Broncos their biggest lead of the game, 19 points, at 8:11 of the first half. "We didn't get out and guard them very good," said Smith.
Boise State, on the other hand, did a fine job guarding Utah State's three-point shooters. Jay Goodman had a hand in his face all night and wound up 0-for-6 on his specialty, 4-for-13 overall. He fouled out with 13 points with :37 left. "He had a bad start and didn't shoot very well," said Smith.
The Aggies' No. 2 scorer, Rich Jardine, was also aced out in scoring, going 0-for-7 from the field and 0-for-2 from the line and playing only 18 minutes.
"That's your best shooters," said Smith. "You can't expect to win if you shoot that poorly."
Kendall Youngblood led the Aggies with 18 points and eight rebounds, and freshman Bryon Ruffner, playing 34 minutes in his biggest outing of the year, contributed 6-of-9 shooting and four rebounds.
With forward Jeff Sanor and Ogden center Tanoka Beard taking charge in the middle for 23 and 21 points, Boise made good use of inside-out play, throwing the ball in to Beard and scoring well when he tossed it back out if Randy Funk or Eric Franson got position on him.
Zone defenses played a big part. The Aggies were behind 27-11 when they went to a zone and outscored Boise 24-23 the rest of the half. In the second half, the Aggies cut the lead to 56-46, but Boise went to a zone and upped the lead to 18 again.
Funk was the Aggies' most efficient shooter, making six of eight tries from the field and three of five from the line for 15 points.
The Aggies, who've played three of their four games on the road, return home to await Weber State's visit to the Smith Spectrum Thursday.