With starting point guard Derrick Marks saddled with foul trouble and Boise State trailing at halftime, reserve guard Mikey Thompson provided just the spark the Broncos needed Sunday against Louisiana.
Thompson, a redshirt freshman, scored seven points in the first four-plus minutes of the second half, and the Broncos rallied for a tough 63-57 victory against the Ragin Cajuns at Taco Bell Arena.
Thompson set season highs in points (13), rebounds (five) and minutes (26) in the victory.
Its just me getting more comfortable with the game plan, Thompson said. Its just me knowing the pace of the game and having a feel for the game and a feel for my teammates.
Thompson, a 6-foot-3, 167-pounder from Las Vegas, spent last year adjusting to college life and college basketball. The Broncos moved him to point guard, a new position for Thompson, who played mostly off the ball in high school.
Its a big role for me, having to know everybodys position and everything about the whole game, Thompson said.
The adjustment is a work in progress, but Thompsons quickness, ability to create plays and defensive abilities have earned him minutes in the early season.
Mikeys got a lot of talent. Sometimes he makes crazy plays that look like a freshman and other times he makes really nice plays. I think hes really going to be a good player, coach Leon Rice said. Hell continue to grow as a player because he is in these situations.
Thompsons early second-half scoring burst pushed the Broncos ahead in a back-and-forth game, which featured eight ties and eight lead changes. But Boise State did not take the lead for good until sophomore Anthony Drmics 3-pointer with seven minutes, 28 seconds remaining in the game.
Drmics 3, his lone made 3-pointer of the game, gave Boise State a 53-52 lead. The Broncos (3-0) scored the next six points to put away Louisiana (1-2) despite a less-than-stellar shooting performance.
Boise State shot 38.9 percent and made just 4-of-20 3-point attempts, both season lows. Drmic was 1-for-5 from 3-point range, and Jeff Elorriaga was 1-for-6 from long range.
The Broncos missed 11-of-28 free-throw attempts.
Im proud of the fact that they found a way. It wasnt pretty, Rice said.
They did it by scrapping for extra possessions. Drmic grabbed eight rebounds. Elorriaga pulled down a career-high 10 boards and had three steals. Boise State had 14 offensive rebounds, including four from center Kenny Buckner, and three from Ryan Watkins and Drmic.
We had a tendency to stand and watch, and you have to chase them, said Louisiana coach Bob Marlin, whose team was outrebounded 41-29 overall. Their guys got to a couple hustle balls on both ends.
Guards Elfrid Payton and Alan-Michael Thompson led Louisiana (formerly Louis-iana-Lafayette) with 12 points each. Marks, despite foul trouble, led the Broncos with 14 points, his sixth consecutive double-digit game.
We got it done, Rice said. But theres a lot to learn from how we got it done.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444; Twitter: @MurphsTurph