Boise State men make their points in opening win

Broncos play without a full lineup, but still overwhelm UT Arlington.

dsouthorn@idahostatesman.comNovember 9, 2013 

Boise State’s Derrick Marks drives to the basket in the first half of the Broncos’ game against UT Arlington on Friday.

OTTO KITSINGER — The Associated Press

Even without their “glue guy,” the Boise State Broncos were unbreakable Friday night.

As senior guard Jeff Elorriaga sat on the bench with an injury, Boise State shot the lights out, and shut down the UT Arlington Mavericks in their season opener for a 116-87 win. The Broncos' 116 points were the second-most in a single game in school history.

The Broncos hit 57.7 percent of their field goals, led by Anthony Drmic's 34 points.

“This offseason, I tried to work more on my scoring, attacking the basket more and more,” said Drmic, whose 17.7 points per game led the Broncos last season.

Boise State (1-0) crossed the 100-point barrier for the 31st time in school history, and came two points shy of tying the record of 118, set Jan. 25, 1971 against Portland State.

Drmic tied a career-high with 34 points, becoming the first player in school history to score more than 30 points in a season opener. He scored five points in the game's first minute and hit 12-of-22 shots from the field, including five 3-pointers, in 27 minutes.

“I got to see first hand how good Drmic is, I mean he was one of the best players we’ve ever played against,” said UT Arlington's eight-year coach, Scott Cross.

Elorriaga, the Broncos' third-leading scorer last season (10.2 points per game), sat out the game as a precautionary measure after hitting his head in practice during the week. The senior had missed three full games last season with lingering effects from a concussion. The Broncos went 0-3 in those games.

“That was maybe one of those mental hurdles we got over, because we weren't very good last year without Jeff,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. “(Friday), we played without him, and I thought we were pretty darn good.”

Even without their leader, the Broncos hummed along, with seven players scoring at least nine points. Guard Derrick Marks had 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, and forward Ryan Watkins had 14 points and 10 rebounds. The Mavericks were 24th in the nation last season in field goal percentage defense, allowing teams to shoot only 39.1 percent.

“It's a team — if someone's out, the next guy's got to step up,” said senior Thomas Bropleh, who had nine points starting for Elorriaga.

As strong as the Boise State offense was, the Broncos' defensive effort matched the intensity. Boise State held a 45-26 rebounding advantage, holding a 29-14 edge on the defensive end. The Broncos also had a 23-5 edge on points off turnovers, despite creating only two more (12-10) turnovers than the Mavericks.

“They can be explosive, they hit some contested shots … we did some good things, but we've got to get better at the things we think we can,” Rice said. “(Rebounding) was real good, but as a coach I saw 15 blockouts that we missed.”

Off the bench, sophomore Mikey Thompson had 10 points and seven assists Friday, while true freshman Dezmyn Trent had 13 points and five rebounds in 20 minutes in his debut. Ten of the 12 Broncos who played scored at least two points.

“That's where we're different, maybe from last year … you've got more guys that can step in,” Rice said.

Trent was whistled for goaltending on a Hadziomerovic floater with 25 seconds to play that would have given the Broncos their 118th point.

If that was the lowlight of the night for the Broncos, that's a pretty strong jumping off point, as they next host NAIA Simpson next Friday at Taco Bell Arena.

“I think as a team, we're clicking,”

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