Any concerns about the Boise State men's basketball team's mental condition after Wednesday's devastating loss at San Diego State were answered quickly Saturday against Wyoming.
The Broncos scored the game's first five points and dominated the first half against the Cowboys at Taco Bell Arena.
But the concerns about Boise State's ability to close out games - a problem in the loss in San Diego - didn't go away Saturday, even after the Broncos held on for a 68-61 victory.
"I was really proud of the way these guys came out. We had the heartbreaking loss on Wednesday, and there was probably people that were worried that we'd maybe have a hangover from that," said coach Leon Rice, referencing the 63-62 loss at San Diego State. The Aztecs hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds left. "Our guys really, really came out dialed in."
The Broncos (16-7, 4-5 in the Mountain West) ended the first half Saturday on a 10-0 run to extend their edge to 37-19. Anthony Drmic scored five points and had one assist in the final 1 minute, 21 seconds of the half.
Drmic led the Broncos with 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists. He and fellow sophomore Derrick Marks - the highest-scoring teammates in the Mountain West at 32.5 points entering the game - combined for 38 points against the Cowboys.
"It feels good. We had a bad taste in our mouth from the loss on Wednesday," said Marks, who missed a free throw that would have given the Broncos a three-point lead before the final shot in San Diego.
Similar struggles nearly cost the Broncos on Saturday night. Wyoming (16-7, 2-7) whittled down the lead throughout the second half - aided, in part, by 15 Boise State fouls.
The Broncos missed four free throws, including the front end of back-to-back one-and-ones by Mikey Thompson, allowing Wyoming to climb within five points at 66-61.
"I don't think we had the same intensity we had in the first half. We just let them come back with a couple easy buckets, a couple easy lay-ups," Drmic said. "That's something we need to work at, at being mentally strong enough to come out in the second half and keep pounding away, extending the lead and not let it shorten."
Marks hit two free throws with 17 seconds left to seal the victory.
"At the end, they regrouped and weathered the storm and got it done," Rice said.
Wyoming, which played without injured forward Larry Nance Jr. (right wrist, 10.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game), was led by seniors Derrious Gilmore (26 points) and Leonard Washington (18 points, 15 rebounds).
"I'm going to send them a graduation gift," Rice said.
NOTES: Boise State sophomore Igor Hadziomerovic returned after missing the previous two games with a foot injury and illness. He came off the bench and had seven points and four rebounds in 20 minutes. Junior Jeff Elorriaga fouled out in 21 minutes. He went 0-for-3 from the field and did not score. Boise State improved to 10-1 at home. The Broncos surpassed last season's Mountain West win total. BSU went 3-11 in its first season in the league.
BOISE STATE WOMEN FALL AT WYOMING
The outmanned Broncos came up short in a 77-60 loss in Laramie, Wyo. Lauren Lenhardt led the Broncos while fighting double teams the entire way to score 19 points on a day that the team was limited to eight players because of injuries. It was Lenhardt's 17th game of the year in double-figure points for BSU (10-12, 3-6 MW).