DAYTON, Ohio - As his Boise State Broncos faced an eight-point deficit with just 20 minutes left in the season, Anthony Drmic put the scoring load on his shoulders.
The sophomore, who led all Mountain West scorers in conference play, pitched in 28 points Wednesday, with 17 coming in the second half.
"You hit 28 points in an NCAA Tournament game, that's a great effort - and on 17 shots, that's terrific," Boise State coach Leon Rice said.
Drmic's 28 points, on 9-of-17 shooting, were the most for a Boise State player in the Broncos' six games in their NCAA Tournament history.
In the first half, Drmic hit his left knee against the ground, then hit the other two possessions later, missing a few minutes while trainers attended to him.
"If you're a real player, you play through it," he said.
After the game, La Salle coach John Giannini noted that Drmic was "a handful."
Rice pointed out that Drmic, who hit five 3-pointers, mixed up his offensive arsenal to get the Broncos back into it.
"He's one of the best competitors I've been around," Rice said. "He adjusted. They were getting up into us, and he started taking it to the hole."
Wednesday was Drmic's 16th 20-point game of the season, but the Australian did not relish in the stats when all was said and done.
"You want to win the game first, then personal glory is second, third or fourth in your mind," he said. "It's great I scored, but we didn't win, so to me, it doesn't matter."
MARKS STRUGGLES EARLY IN GAME
Boise State sophomore guard Derrick Marks had four turnovers in the first half and was 1-of-6 from the field. He finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, five assists and five turnovers.
"First half, we were getting sped up, and I fell into that as well," Marks said. "Then the second half I finally figured it out, I got to slow down a little bit and started to score a little bit more."
REBOUNDING EDGE GOES TO THE BRONCOS
Boise State outrebounded La Salle 29-22 with the Explorers' 6-foot-11 center Steve Zack out. Boise State was 15-4 when outrebounding its opponents this season coming into Wednesday.
Dave Southorn: 377-6420, Twitter: @IDS_southorn