Thursday, March 3, 2016

Broncos Power Past Pack, 76-57

BOISE, Idaho--Anthony Drmic scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Boise State to a 76-57 win over Nevada, the Broncos' 20th win of the season, last night before a crowd of 8,495 at Taco Bell Arena.  Boise State clinched at least a #3 seed in the upcoming Mountain West tournament with the victory.  

Coach Leon Rice's Broncos reached the 20-win plateau for the fourth consecutive time to set a new school record.  The 1986-89 Boise State teams coached by Bobby Dye originally set the school record of three straight 20-win seasons that was tied last season.  During the current four-year span, the Broncos have shattered the school mark of 81 wins in a four-year period that was also held by the Dye teams from 1986-90 (81-36).  Boise State has now won 87 games since 2012 (21-11, 21-13, 25-9 and 20-10).  The Broncos of 1986-90 still hold the school record for winning percentage in a four-year period (69.23%) while the current Broncos sport a 66.92% winning record.

The Broncos honored seniors Montigo Alford, Drmic, Lonnie Jackson and Mikey Thompson prior to the game.  Drmic played one of his best games of the year in posting his fourth career double-double and the first since January 8, 2014.  Now with 1,917 career points, he passed former teammate Derrick Marks (1,912; 2011-15) for third place on the Boise State all-time scoring list and is now 10 points shy of Steve Connor (1927; 1974-78) for second and 27 points short of tying the school record set by Tanoka Beard (1944; 1989-93).

Drmic was 10-of-18 from the floor to pass Marks and Luke Nevill of Utah (1,898 career points; 2005-09) for fifth in Mountain West history.  Drmic has scored 110 points in the last six games (18.3 pointer per game during that stretch), including three 20-point performances.  He now has 38 career 20-point games.

"It's just great to see," Rice said about the play of Drmic, who has spent more of the year recovering from last year's ankle injury and surgery, which led to further complications of nerve damage in his calf.  "I wish we could rewind and put him back this way in November, and away we go," Rice said.  "But that's life, and that's college basketball and sometimes you('ve) got to deal with things like that.  It's made him tougher - which is hard to imagine - it's made him have to deal with things that you didn't want to deal with, and it made our team deal with things they didn't want to deal with, and it made us tougher."

Rice was happy with the way his team dealt with the emotion that comes with senior night:

“Those senior nights are tough. I remember a couple years ago we lost on our senior night to Nevada and it was a tough, tough deal. So you’re always worried about all the emotion that’s involved and you just hope that you can manage it and the players can manage it. I thought we did a great job and we played a team that’s been really hot and a team that’s been really good. So credit to our guys, they sent these guys (seniors) out of this building the right way.”

The Bronco seniors accounted for Boise State's first 14 points as the Broncos raced to a 14-4 lead in the first 5 minutes and 13 seconds--Drmic netted nine on a three-pointer and three baskets, while Jackson fired in a three-pointer and Alford scored on an assist from Nick Duncan, who tied a career-high with five assists.  James Webb III, who missed a game with a sprained MCL, entered the game and scored the first of his 15 points to keep the lead at 10, 16-6, and then connected on a three-pointer to put the Broncos up 23-10.

The first half was characterized by turnovers; the Broncos committed 10 in the opening stanza to 9 for Nevada, and careless ball handling by Boise State allowed the Pack to cut the lead to 27-21.  But two Duncan treys and one by freshman Paris Austin gave the Broncos a more comfortable 41-29 margin heading into the break.

Thompson, who spent a good deal of the first half on the bench with foul trouble, sank a three-pointer to give the Broncos a 51-35 lead with 17:34 remaining.  When Nevada's Cameron Oliver scored on a driving layup three minutes later, he cut the lead to 56-44, but that was as close as the Pack could get for the rest of the game.

While Boise State was drilling three-pointers in familiar fashion, the Pack connected on just 1-of-14 from beyond the arc.

Eric Cooper Jr. and Tyron Criswell tied for high scoring honors with 11 points for the Pack, while Oliver finished with 10.

Nevada, which came into the showdown tied with the Broncos for third place in the conference, they slipped to 18-11 overall and 10-7 in the Mountain West.  Boise State advanced to 11-6 in the league and can climb as high as #2 with a win over San Jose State in the regular season finale Saturday and a loss by Fresno State, which is currently 12-5 in the MW.

Mountain West:
Career Points:
RankPlayerPTSFromToLast School
1.Jimmer Fredette259920082011BYU
2.Brandon Heath218920042007San Diego State
3.Brandon Ewing216820062009Wyoming
4.Marvelle Harris192020122016Fresno State
5.Anthony Drmic191720122016Boise State
6.Derrick Marks191220122015Boise State
7.Luke Nevill189820062009Utah
8.Kendall Williams181320112014New Mexico
9.Josh Adams181020122016Wyoming
10.Dalron Johnson172820002003UNLV

Boise State:
Career Points:
1.    1,944 Tanoka Beard (1989-1993)
2.    1,927 Steve Connor (1974-1978)
3.    1,917 Anthony Drmic (2011-current)
4.    1,912 Derrick Marks (2011-2014)
5.    1,698 Coby Karl (2003-2007)
6.    1,660 Abe Jackson 1988-1992)
7.    1,602 Chris Childs (1985-1989)
8.    1,485 Roberto Bergersen (1996-1999)
9.    1,386 Ron Austin (1968-1971)
10.  1,243 Vince Hinchen (1981-1984)
11.  1,210 Gerry Washington (1995-1999)
12.  1,115 Pat Hoke (1972-1976)
13.  1,155 Trent Johnson (1974-1978)
14.  1,126 John Coker (1991-1995)
15.  1,124 Mikey Thompson (2012-current)
16.  1,098 Reggie Larry (2007-2008)
17.  1,092 Paul Noonan (2007-2011)
18.  1,090 Danny Jones (1974-1978)
19.  1,087 Bryan Defares (2000-2004)
20.  1,074 Eric Lane (2003-2007)
21.  1,067 Ron Austin (1969-1971)
22.  1,032 Greg Bunn (1970-1973)
23.  1,025 Booker Nabors (2000-2004)
24.  1,022 La'Shard Anderson (2008-2011)
25.  1,005 Anthony Thomas (2006-2010)

26.  1,004 Jason Ellis (2001-2005)