In the first of four final Mountain West games of the season, the Broncos (19-8, 7-6 in MW) soundly defeated the Nevada Wolf Pack (12-15, 3-10) 73-47 Wednesday night at Taco Bell Arena.
Avenging their 75-59 loss in Reno to the Pack, the Broncos came out with vengeance through their hard-nosed defense that forced Nevada to shoot 10-38 (26.3 percent) from the field.
“Everybody did their job and stepped up,” junior forward Ryan Watkins said. “That’s what we got to have every game.”
Their 10 field goals matched sophomore guard Anthony Drmic’s total field goals for the night as he led the Broncos with 26 points.
“My teammates are giving me the ball at the right time and I’m attacking the lane at the right time, getting lay ups, and ones, and getting to the free throw line to capitalize on those,” Drmic said.
The stats clearly highlighted the Broncos’ dominance especially in points in the paint (36 to Nevada’s 12), points off turnovers (18 to 7) and second chance points (17 to 2). What arguably could have been the biggest victory for the Broncos on the night was holding Nevada to zero fast break points.
“I thought our guys did a great job of dialing into the defensive efforts,” Head Coach Leon Rice said. “They’re one of the best teams in transition and we held them to two [was zero] points (in transition). It’s what you have to do in late February and March to compete.”
Someone who went under the radar for the Broncos was sophomore guard Derrick Marks, who tends to be the prolific scorer for the team. On the night, Marks finished with just six points, but coupled with seven points and eight assists.
He’s a complete player and each game you can see him getting better and better,” Drmic said about his teammate.
Other notable Broncos were junior forward Ryan Watkins (14 points and eight rebounds), junior guard Jeff Elorriaga (nine points, 3-4 from the 3 point line) and junior forward Thomas Bropleh (seven points, seven rebounds and three assists).
The win comes timely for the Broncos, as they gear up into their last three games of the regular season, all against Top 25 RPI teams: Colorado State, away at UNLV and back at home against San Diego State.
No need to press the panic button just yet, as Boise State continues to ride its’ four game win streak into two home games and just one away game. It comes down to the core defensive efforts the Broncos displayed Wednesday night to contest in these tough Mountain West games.
“It’s what you have to do to stay relevant in late February and March,” Rice said about the team’s defensive performance. “This team’s kind of coming together right now and it feels like we’re peaking at the right time.”
In a first ever “black out” game for the men, Saturday night the Broncos play host to the Colorado State Rams with tip-off set for 6 p.m.