In a game with Mountain West standings on the line, the Boise State men’s basketball team (16-7, 4-5 in MW) defeated the Wyoming Cowboys (16-7, 2-7 in MW) 68-61 in front of a crowd of 8,127 Saturday night.
The Cowboys, without sophomore Larry Nance Jr., were limited in their scoring efforts, heavily relying on senior forward Leonard Washington (18 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks) and senior guard Derrious Gilmore (game-high 26 points).
“I’m going to send them a graduation gift. I’m so happy they’re seniors,” Head Coach Leon Rice said about Wyoming’s scoring tandem. “Those two played really good tonight.”
On the other hand, the Broncos had a full lineup as sophomore guard Igor Hadziomerovic returned in uniform from a foot injury.
Starting off in the first half, the Broncos showcased their dominance over their Mountain West foe, going 37-19 into the locker room without looking back. Sophomore guard Anthony Drmic scored 13 of his 21 points in the first, coupled with sophomore guard Derrick Marks’ nine points (17 total) and four rebounds.
The Broncos shot 55.6 percent from the field, went 5-7 at the free throw line and kept the fouls at bay with only six personal fouls in the first 20 minutes. A runaway game seemed to be in store at Taco Bell Arena.
“That’s something we’ve been working on as a team, coming out strong,” Drmic said. “A few times on the road we’ve come out a bit sloppy, so coming out strong helps you as a team and it definitely helps.”
The momentum began to tilt in favor of the Cowboys at the start of the second half, as they increased their field goal percentage from a dismal 36.4 percent in the first to an impressive 53.8 percent in the second.
Anchoring the Cowboys’ valiant attempt at a comeback was Washington, who made his presence known with 14 second-half points and 11 rebounds.
Not only were the Cowboys’ knocking on Boise State’s door, but the Broncos began to dig their own ditch with foul trouble.
Junior guard and glue man Jeff Elorriaga fouled out with just five minutes to go while Marks and Drmic each had four fouls each.
Within minutes the Broncos’ 18-point halftime lead shrunk to 6 with 1:21 to go.
Despite Wyoming’s efforts, it was Drmics’ and Marks’ offensive efforts towards the end that kept the Cowboys from the comeback win.
“We had a bad taste in our mouth from the loss on Wednesday (against SDSU) and it feels good (to win),” Marks said. “We’re going to enjoy it for tonight and then we’re going to start getting ready for New Mexico.”
What also aided the Broncos was the presence of The Corral, the Boise State student section, who was boisterous and organized in their cheers and chants, especially during their flash mob during a media timeout in
This marks the Broncos’ third consecutive win at home to improve their home record to 10-1 on the season.
The Broncos also swept the Cowboys in the series, a first since the school joined the Mountain West during the 2011-12 season.
The Broncos have the week off to prepare for No.16 New Mexico, as they head to “The Pit” on Feb. 16. The next home match for the men is against Air Force
on Feb. 20.