In a thrilling overtime victory that ended in a somewhat controversial call, senior forward Ryan Watkins helped to seal the deal for the Broncos with another double-double performance, his 13th of the season.
Watkins’ night was overshadowed by Derrick Marks’ overtime brilliance but in no way was his performance anything less than spectacular. Watkins finished the game with 22 points, 15 rebounds on 9-13 shooting.
“We know now, no matter how much we’re down we can still come back,” Watkins said. “We just know we got to keep fighting and that’s what we did.”
Watkins was held his own against the much taller 6-foot-10 freshman Christian Wood for the Rebels. The Broncos don’t have the luxury of having a lot of size like most squads, so for much of the season, it is Watkins who has had to guard opponent’s tallest player.
“It’s always going to be a battle when you’re playing against talent like that, you’ve just got to fight and you’ve just got to bring it,” Watkins said.
With the Broncos trailing by nine points with 8:44 left in the game, Watkins pulled down a missed rebound and laid it in while drawing a foul. The play ignited the Broncos and the crowd to bring the Broncos within four points. Eventually the Broncos would force overtime where Watkins and Marks fought to keep the Broncos in the game.
This is something that Watkins has been doing for the Broncos all season long and his career. He gets his hands dirty and is able to provide the second effort and win most hustle plays. Of Watkins 15 total rebounds 7 of them were offensive.
“It doesn’t matter who is on the inside, Ryan is going to come to play, he’s going to play hard,” Marks said. “With the stuff he’s doing it sounds bad but I expect that of him but he just keeps on surprising the world.”
When the game was over, the one who had logged the most minutes for the Broncos was none other than Watkins, finishing with 41 minutes played.
Even with the visible fatigue on his face, Watkins was able to stay focused and come up with key plays down the stretch.
“We got a lot of games left and you never know what the game has in store for you,” Watkins said.