With 25 seconds remaining in the game and only up by three, it took just a span of five seconds for sophomore guard Derrick Marks to showcase his multifaceted basketball game.
A block, rebound and a well-timed time out were not only a remarkable series of plays from the second-year player, but he highlighted the type of basketball Boise State put on display Saturday
Cue the eruption of the 10,455 members of Bronco Nation in attendance.
“Of course I turned the ball over but it was a great play by them and Derrick just made a better play,” sophomore guard Anthony Drmic said. “That’s the kind of stuff Derrick does for us.”
In a down-to-the-wire fashion, the Broncos (21-9, 9-7 in MW) defeated the San Diego State Aztecs (21-9, 9-7) 69-65 for their first win ever against the conference opponent in what was a must-win for the Broncos’ NCAA tournament chances.
Judging from the first half alone, it had appeared the Broncos were going to walk away unscathed with a 31-19 lead heading into the
However, the Aztecs’ abysmal 25.9 (7-27) percentage from the field transformed into a stellar 53.6 percent (15-28) for the second half, cutting the Broncos’ lead from 12 to three into the final minutes.
Enter the “Blue Mamba”, —Marks’ new nickname, homage to Los Angeles Laker Kobe “Black Mamba” Bryant, with the heroics. Marks’ 22 of 27 total points were made in the second half, scoring 14 of the team’s final 21 points with under 10 minutes to play. Marks also dished out six assists and grabbed nine rebounds on the day.
“This team has come a long way in defensively closing out games,” Marks said. “Last year, if we were up in the second, we probably would
The spotlight wasn’t just on Marks, as teammate and departing senior center Kenny Buckner notched 11 rebounds appropriately on Senior Day recognition at
Buckner’s hustle and work ethic is something Head Coach Leon Rice consistently values in his players.
“When we bring a kid here, our number one goal is that he leaves here better off than he got here,” Rice said. “That’s Kenny Buckner, that sums him up.”
Another noteworthy showing came from Drmic’s 23-point performance, which gave him the Mountain West scoring title at 519 total points on the season.
San Diego State was led by forward Xavier James and his 18 points and zero personal fouls, the only one on the team who held a clean slate in fouls.
Junior Jamal Franklin came alive in the second half, scoring nine of his 15 points after halftime but fouled out with 20 seconds remaining.
Initially picked to finish eighth in the Mountain West in a poll by media members, the Broncos ended the season with a fifth place finish. As a testament to Rice’s continued success, Boise State has outperformed their predicted finish the last three seasons Rice has coached.
“The bottom line is that they (San Diego State) know how to win games, but the great thing is so do our guys and they’re getting better at it,” Rice said.
The Broncos are a fifth seed in the 2013 Mountain West tournament in Las Vegas and will square off again against the fourth-seeded Aztecs Wednesday night at 10 p.m. MT.