BOISE -- The Boise State men's basketball program is picking up where the football team left off - and the buzz is building. With a 13-2 record as of Wednesday night, the Broncos have some serious momentum as they get into the thick of conference play.
The Broncos dominated New Mexico at Taco Bell Arena and fans were hyped up; the energy was high, especially for a mid-week game in early January. It's apparent that new and long-time fans alike are loving this team.
"It's a fun event. A lot of action, excitement," said season ticket holder Randy Ruckle. "This is the best bargain in town. This is a good team with a good coach. Frankly, there should be a bigger turnout here."
"Every game I've come to they've won," said another season ticket holder, Kim Kimberlin. "It's exciting to see these young people cheer and the old people getting in there and having fun, too!"
Boise State Athletic Director Curt Apsey says fans that have followed the basketball program for years are starting to attend games again because they don't want to miss out on the action.
"I think fans start to gain some confidence and they're kind pof going hey, maybe I oughta go check this team out because they are fun to watch," Apsey told KTVB.
Turnout at games is on the rise as people rally behind the Broncos, which was evident on Wednesday night when there were more than 7,550 fans in the stands - the most so far this season.
So what's bringing them out to support the now 13-2 team?
"I think it's a little bit more than the record," Apsey said. "This team is playing really well."
And fans are certainly taking notice.
"Better ball movement and better defense," one young fan, Drew Huff, pointed out. "They're doing better than they have in the past couple of seasons, and more fans are showing up to games."
"They've been growing, players are starting to play better," another young fan, Evan Lahart, added.
"Leon Rice is a good coach" Ruckle said. "He's done a great job. He's had a lot of turnover last two years and he's integrated new players in and found the right roles for different players."
During the game against New Mexico, most tickets purchased were general public.
"This team is playing really well and they're exciting to watch and I'm just proud of where they're at right now," Apsey said. "One of the best starts since Leon's been here. They play together, they're fun. There's a difference between watching at home and coming down here and actually feeling it."
"This team is getting better every week and that's obviously the goal here at Boise State," Apsey said. "And Leon and his staff are doing a great job."
Boise State students are still on winter break, so the student section was a bit thin on Wednesday night, but the program would like to see a bigger student turnout at other games as well.
Broncos take on San Diego State (10-4, 2-1 MW) on Saturday Jan. 13 at the Taco Bell Arena, which is expected to be a good competition.
"Give it a try, buy a ticket, come out here and have some fun," Ruckle advised.