Ending a four-game losing streak with a gritty overtime win against one of the Mountain West's premier teams will cure quite a few ills.
That's just what the Boise State men's basketball team did Tuesday with its 82-73 win against UNLV at Taco Bell Arena. Afterward, coach Leon Rice simply said "the Broncos are not done." As the team heads into Sunday's game at New Mexico (4 p.m., CBS Sports Network), the attitude has been one of a little renewed optimism.
"It definitely lifts the spirits around here, it raises the belief again," Rice said Friday.
Boise State (11-6, 1-3) travels to face a New Mexico (12-5, 4-1) team that has continued to play well despite losing stars Kendall Williams, Alex Kirk and Cameron Bairstow in the offseason, then earlier this month had top scorer Cullen Neal declared out for the year with an injury. Rice called The Pit "one of the toughest places to play in all of college basketball."
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"They had some good guys sitting behind all those guys waiting, and the program's been at a high level for a long, long time," Rice said.
Once again, sophomore forward James Webb III had some highlight reel plays against the Rebels with a pair of thunderous dunks — one a putback slam, flying in from out of nowhere, and the other on a fastbreak that sealed the win in overtime. Webb had 12 points and 15 rebounds (five offensive) in the win. The great Chadd Cripe compiled the dunks in the video above, and it's also something the team does once in a while, too.
"Sometimes we do clip it and show the team, just so they can have a little fun with it," Rice said. "What impresses me more is not those dunks, it's the effort plays he made on those offensive rebounds."
Senior guard Igor Hadziomerovic missed a game for the first time this season against the Rebels with what Boise State officials called a "head injury." After the game, Rice said he was going through the team's concussion protocol. On Friday, he said Hadziomerovic may be available Sunday.
"The concussion stuff is going OK," Rice said. "I don't imagine him full strength, I never want to throw a guy in who hasn't practiced very much and go from 0 to 100, so probably in some limited capacity."
Speaking of Australians, senior guard/forward Anthony Drmic had successful ankle surgery on Thursday. He posted a pretty funny photo on Twitter afterward (below). It was a long lingering injury to the ligaments in his ankle, and the surgery repaired them.
"The stability in there was all gone," Rice said.
Drmic being the competitor he is, Rice said the team maybe could have gotten him out on the floor, but it likely would've been far from 100 percent.
"You'd hate for him to play two, three, four more games and all the sudden we lose him," Rice said. "Now we've lost him for the rest of this year and we don't have him next year. As hard as it was for me to say goodbye to him for this year, I know come September, I think everybody in Bronco nation is going to be pretty happy to have one of the all-time leading scorers back and one of the best players in the Mountain West back."
Post surgery - can't see pic.twitter.com/ZGRAYmIvtZ— Anthony Drmic (@AnthonyDrmic) January 15, 2015