In the Mountain West division, there is no such thing as an “easy win”. On Wednesday night, the Broncos (14-5, 2-3 in MW) were clear favorites over the Fresno State Bulldogs.
But, the Bulldogs came
Fresno State came out hot in the first half, outshooting the Broncos and forcing Boise State at one time to shoot 16.7 percent from the field. The Bulldogs came prepared, played hard-nosed defense and forced turnovers.
However, the Broncos would not quit.
“We just need to settle down a little bit,” said Head Coach Leon Rice. “The beauty of it’s a step forward in progress for us with the fact that we didn’t have Jeff (Elorriaga). He’s a guy who keeps everything together out there.”
Elorriaga was injured on the last play of the first half and didn’t return.
While building momentum the one consistent key to the Broncos making a comeback was their shooting at the free-throw line.
In fact, Boise State went a complete 26-26 from the line; setting a Mountain West record for a completion percentage for free throws.
“That just shows how focused we were,” said sophomore guard Derrick Marks. “This whole week in practice we were just repeating free throws while we were tired, that carried over into
Another key factor in the game was rebounding. The Broncos out-rebounded the Bulldogs 37-24. Sophomore forward Ryan Watkins contributed 18 of those rebounds; setting a career best.
While Watkins played a fantastic game, he wasn’t the only standout. Both Marks and sophomore forward Anthony Drmic, had over 20 points.
Marks scored a total of 30 points while weaving in and out of the defense to create shoots for himself while adding 12 points from the free throw line.
Drmic ended the game with 23 points while he shot lights out from the three-point line, making six total.
Drmic’s points came in pressure situations where the Broncos needed to gain some momentum.
“Drmic, he’s a big shot-maker, big players make big shots,” Rice said. “That’s the thing about Anthony (Drmic), he’s one of the best competitors I’ve been around.”
With huge games from Drmic, Marks and Watkins, the Broncos were able to come out with the victory over Fresno State, 74-67.
However, the Broncos wouldn’t be as “on-point” on last Saturday’s game vs. the Nevada Wolfpack.
The Broncos lost to Nevada, 59-75, making their record 14-5 on the year. Drmic led the Broncos in scoring with 23 while Marks and redshirt freshman Mikey Thompson each had 11 points.
This Wednesday the men are scheduled to face off against Colorado State at Taco Bell Arena at 7 p.m.