Those who used to love the Bobby Dye-coached teams in the 1980's, and Bronco fans who have been thrilled by the Boise State football team for so many years--there's a new team in town.
That team would be Leon Rice's 2012-13 Bronco basketball team, which tonight scored what could be a program-building 89-70 win over LSU to knock the Tigers from the unbeaten ranks before 11,210 fans at Taco Bell Arena.
Sophomore guard Anthony Drmic was sensational for Boise State, launching howitzer after howitzer to drain the net for threes, then soaring high above the rim for jaw-opening alley-oop slam dunks, including a thundering dunk over LSU's 7'3" center Anthony Del Piero for his final field goal. A dual threat like that presents major problems for the opposition, and Drmic hit for a career-high 34 points tonight. Anthony hit six three-pointers and rolled up 19 points in the first half as Boise State built a 43-30 lead at intermission. Clearly, Boise State played as good a first half as they could play.
Drmic continued his barrage in the second half, while Derrick Marks lit it up for 19 of his 23 points in the second half and Ryan Watkins had 12 points and a career-high 17 points in cleaning up the glass.
But make no mistake about it--defense won this game. It would have been a different story otherwise. LSU built a 19-11 first-half lead when the Broncos began to get after it defensively. Boise State stepped up the "D" several notches to bother the talented Tiger team and knock them off their game. Plus, Boise State's hustle tonight was beyond compare, scrambling feverishly for every loose ball and, led by Watkins, battling for every rebound. The Bronco defense forced 20 LSU turnovers, 10 in each half. Boise State's tenacity led to 13 steals, 4 each from Marks and Jeff Elorriaga. Bobby Dye himself would have been proud. In short, the Broncos put on quite a show tonight.
Boise State's energy led to commanding leads in 1)points in the paint (36-26), 2) points off turnovers (30-18) and 3) second-chance points (22-6).
After LSU had tied the game at 27 with 6:17 remaining in the half, the Broncos went on a 16-3 tear. Kenny Buckner scored six points in a row, and Elorriaga stole the ball with six seconds left and fed Thomas Bropleh for the basket and foul. The turn of events brought the Bell crowd to its feet and set the tone for the rest of the game.
Together with Marks' 35-point effort in the win over nationally-ranked Creighton, Drmic and Marks are just the third set of Boise State teammates to score 30 points in the same season. The point totals are the 10th and 15th-best by a Bronco in school history.
Corban Collins netted 19 for LSU (6-1) while Johnny O'Bryant III contributed 15 points before fouling out with 8:59 remaining.
Boise State is now 7-2 on the season and will play Idaho next Thursday at Century Link Arena.