The changes have not been as drastic as initially suspected, but the Boise State basketball team has reinvented itself over the past two games.
Most notable was the decision to bring junior forward Nick Duncan and senior guard/forward Anthony Drmic off the bench in Wednesday’s 97-93 double overtime loss at Colorado State and Saturday’s 94-71 win over Wyoming.
Coach Leon Rice floated the idea of playing all 10 regulars equal minutes after a 61-53 loss at Air Force on Feb. 6. With it, he stressed the need to reinvent, and having the Aussies come off the bench is a key part.
“I like it,” Rice said. “The combinations there work in our favor. I like the mojo of this team right now.”
Before the Colorado State game, Duncan started 65-of-72 games, and Drmic came off the bench once in 123 games.
Both have been efficient when they’ve checked in, with Duncan shooting 7-of-10 from the floor and grabbing nine rebounds, while Drmic is 10-of-16 with 10 rebounds.
“Early on in the season, I felt sorry for myself a little bit with my leg and all that type of stuff, but honestly right now, I just don’t care, whatever I need to do,” Drmic said. “I just made a real effort to rebound, especially. When I come on the floor, just rebound, if I get an open shot, knock it down.”
Drmic still has a shot at the Boise State career scoring record, needing 109 points to break Tanoka Beard’s mark of 1,944 points from 1989-93. The Broncos have five regular season games remaining, plus the postseason.
“It goes to the kind of kids these guys are, they just want one thing, they just want to get the job done. ... (Drmic’s) not a normal come-off-the-bench guy, so it’s pretty neat,” Rice said.
Duncan tied his career-high with four offensive rebounds Saturday and scored 11 points with only one 3-pointer. The four field goals inside the perimeter were the second-most he’s made in one game in his career.
“He can do it, that’s the thing — once he realizes he can do that, it’s going to help our team that much more,” Drmic said.
At 6-foot-8 and one of the Mountain West’s top shooters, Duncan has slowly improved his inside-outside game, and said if it happens to be off the bench, that’s not an issue.
“It’s not something I’ve been too concerned about, and you’ve seen the last two games, it’s been better for the team. That’s what we’ve really focused on,” Duncan said. “It’s not really that much of a difference, and it’s been working.
“The coaches have definitely been on me to keep getting better (inside), and I know rebounding’s a team effort, so I’ve tried to step up there.”
The Broncos scored more than 90 points in back-to-back conference games last week for the first time since 2008. Duncan and Drmic averaged a few minutes fewer per game in those contests, but it also may have helped those minutes be more consistent.
“It’s all part of playing for each other. We’re still getting in there and getting good minutes, everyone’s moving the ball and we’re playing more like the team we’ve wanted to be,” Duncan said.
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Boise State men (17-9, 8-5 Mountain West) at New Mexico (15-10, 8-4)
- When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
- Where: WisePies Arena, aka The Pit (15,411), Albuquerque, N.M.
- TV: CBS Sports Network
- Radio: KBOI 670 AM
New Boise State playing minutes
The distribution of playing time among the top nine players in Boise State’s rotation before and since the Colorado State game, when Lonnie Jackson and Robin Jorch replaced Anthony Drmic and Nick Duncan in the starting lineup. Numbers are percentages of possible regulation minutes played in games in which each player participated.
Boise State women look to get back on track against New mexico
- When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
- Where: Taco Bell Arena
- Radio: 1350 KTIK AM
- Records: Boise State 16-8, 9-4 Mountain West; New Mexico 12-11, 5-7
- Tickets: $6 (adults), $4 (seniors/youth)
- Notes: Boise State has lost two straight games, by 32 points to Colorado State and 24 at Wyoming, after having won eight in a row. ... The Broncos beat the Lobos 81-60 in Albuquerque on Jan. 30 and won 66-60 in last year’s Mountain West championship game. ... The Broncos are third in the league standings, and the Lobos are seventh. ... Boise State senior Miquelle Askew is in the top 15 in school history in points (1,204, ninth) and rebounding (560, 15th).