It wasnt Anthony Drmics 25 points that most impressed Boise State mens basketball coach Leon Rice against Oakland on Tuesday.
Nor was it Drmics 10 rebounds. Nor his five assists in the Broncos 88-80 victory at Taco Bell Arena.
Instead it was a hustle play a dive on the floor that halted an Oakland fast break and led to a Boise State 3-pointer that stood out most.
That was one of the best plays Ive seen, Rice said. That was the best game hes played since hes been here. 25 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, one turnover is a pretty amazing line, but the hustle plays he makes are amazing.
Those hidden plays helped the Broncos (2-0) hold off Oakland (1-2), which has made four consecutive postseason appearances, including two trips to the NCAA Tournament in the last three years.
Hidden plays like the defense played by junior guard Jeff Elorriaga. Elorriaga set a career-high with 17 points, but it was his impact on Oaklands Travis Bader that made an even bigger impression on his teammates. Bader, rated as the No. 10 shooter in the country by CBSSports.com, went 3-for-15 from the floor and 1-for-8 from 3-point range with Elorriaga hounding him.
Hes the glue guy. He does everything for us, Drmic said. Thats what Jeff does. Hes just a glue guy. He does all the little things for us.
Derrick Marks added 18 points and four assists and Igor Hadziomerovic chipped in 15 points and five assists in the win. Boise State had 18 assists on 28 field goals.
The sharing was particularly evident during a 22-6 run early in the second half that broke a 40-40 tie and gave the Broncos command of the game. Of the eight field goals Boise State made in that span, five were assisted, including all four 3-pointers in the 5-minute, 22-second run. Boise State led 62-46 when it was over, the largest lead of the game.
Boise State made 11-of-34 3-point attempts in the game. Drmic had four, including two in the first four minutes of the game, Elorriaga also had four and Hadziomerovic had the other three.
We knew it was going to be a lot, Rice said. Thats the kind of team, they force you into it. The style of play dictates that. If you noticed, anytime we drove there was five guys in the paint. There was probably one 3 that I didnt like, that was a contested 3.
Once the Broncos seized the lead, they did not let it go. Unlike last year, when the Broncos lost a number of close games, they held off Oakland, which never got closer than five points. Boise State committed just one second-half turnover and made seven straight free throws in the final 46 seconds and scored
I felt confident that we were going to finish this, as compared to last year when I was always nervous, Elorriaga said. I think that experience from last year really helped us. That team was not going to away, we had to put them away.
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