Let the madness begin. Saturday’s game vs. Colorado State was a special night in Boise State basketball history. Leon Rice became the first coach in Bronco history to win 20 or more games in two of his first three seasons. Derrick Marks’ career high 38-point performance was the fifth highest in Boise State history. And Saturday’s sellout made this year the first season since 1988-89 to have three games of over 10,000 in attendance.
In the first black out game in Boise State basketball history, the Broncos rode the crowd energy to one of their best and most important wins of the season as they took down Colorado State 78-65.
The Broncos entered the night fifth in the Mountain West standings. Facing a second place Colorado State squad who thrashed the Broncos by 20 in Fort Collins in January, the Broncos were in a must win situation to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive.
The first half was a fight as both teams battled back and forth. Colorado State, ranked second in the country in rebounds per game with 41.5 boards per contest, snatched up just 11 rebounds in the period while the Broncos crashed the glass for 19 rebounds. While the Broncos held the upper hand for the majority of the half, the Rams battled back to take a 36-34 lead at the break.
The second half was the Derrick Marks show. The sophomore guard put up the best performance of his college career, shooting an unconscious 11-11 from the field on 4-4 shooting from beyond the three point arc and 7-8 from the free throw line. “Ryan [Watkins] and [Anthony] Drmic called it,” Marks said. “They said this game was going to be my big scoring game and I guess it just happened.”
Marks was lights out, shooting 13-18 from the field for the entire game as he added on three assists and five rebounds to his night. “I’m just sitting in the corner, watching,” sophomore guard Anthony Drmic said. “Shaking my head and saying that’s unbelievable.”
Saturday’s game was reminiscent of Marks’ performances vs. Michigan State and Creighton earlier in the season as he outscored the Rams 33-29 on his own in the second half. “I saw it in his eyes,” head coach Leon Rice said. “He was going to score when we needed it and that’s what makes him such a good player and a good weapon.”
In possibly the most important and understated stat of the night, the Broncos outrebounded the Rams 31-30, becoming just the second team to accomplish that this season.
With two games remaining in the regular season, a Tuesday matchup at UNLV and home against San Diego State next Saturday, the Broncos are looking to solidify their tournament resume. “We’ve done a whole heck-of-a-lot for ourselves the last two weeks,” Rice said.
Sitting on ESPN’s “next four out” bracket predictions entering the Colorado State game, this signature win helps the Broncos leaps and bounds as we near march madness.