Last Saturday, the Boise State men’s basketball team battled in a tough loss to No.19 ranked New Mexico in Albuquerque, 60-50. The Broncos fought as Boise State star sophomore guard Derrick Marks scored 19 points and Senior Center Kenny Buckner added 11 rebounds, but ultimately New Mexico was too much to handle.
But when the Boise State men’s basketball team took on Air Force they were driven. One of their main missions was to play solid defense. After all, this is the same Boise State team that allowed Air Force star Michael Lyons to score a career-high 37 points.
This time the Broncos only allowed Lyons to score 10 points. Mission accomplished.
“It all starts with defense tonight,” said sophomore forward Anthony Drmic. “Definitely stepped defensively. That’s what helped us offensively, just getting early stops, leading out in transition and getting some easy baskets.”
Drmic, who only scored two points in the first period, was one of the key players in Wednesday night’s game.
After the first half, the score was 35-34 with the Bronco advantage. But in all reality, it was anyone’s game.
“I was pretty hard on myself at halftime,” Drmic said. “I just came out and the first shot I was open, I was going to shoot it, but I was that wide-open so I had to shoot it and thankfully it went in. As a shooter when that first one goes in you start getting a bit of confidence.”
Drmic scored 21 points in the second half; ending with 23 total points total of the game.
Another player who exploded for a huge game was 3-point specialist, junior guard Jeff Elorriaga.
Elorriaga would score six of the Bronco’s first eight points with two 3-pointers in the first minute of the game; sparking the Broncos to an early lead.
“It felt good,” Elorriaga said. “I really dropped an egg with New Mexico and it was kind of a bummer, just because it was a big game and you want to play your best in those. But, it felt good, there was good looks…the ball movement was great and it lead us to all those easy baskets.”
Elorriaga has battled with concussion problems after starting off the season on absolute fire from the field. Now that he has recovered, he is starting to get back into the groove of things.
“We won, that’s all that matters at the end of the day. If we are winning, that’s all that matters,” Elorriaga said.
But the biggest surprise came from Marks. Marks would end the night with only 11 points, which on any other night would be a below average game. Marks took a different approach to the game against Air Force; he took the role as facilitator. Marks ended the night with a career-high nine assists as he opened up the shot for his other teammates.
With a team effort, the Broncos went on to defeat Air Force, 77-65. After that win, the Broncos are 17-8 on the season and 5-6 in Mountain West play.