GAME NOTES: Boise State heads to Fort Collins tonight, as the Broncos challenge the Colorado State Rams in Mountain West Conference action at Moby Arena.
Idle since last Wednesday, the Broncos have been basking in the afterglow of their thrilling 71-70 win against visiting New Mexico at Taco Bell Arena. The victory snapped a three-game slide for BSU and also kept the Lobos from pulling even further away from most of the MWC. For their efforts, the Broncos are now an even 6-6 in league action.
As for the Rams, they can't seem to find an even balance from one performance to the next. The team had enjoyed back-to-back wins over UNLV and Air Force a short while ago, but then last week the team bowed to Utah State and Fresno State in a span of four days, dropping them to 5-8 in conference.
Because of the growth of the MWC, this will be the only meeting of the regular season between the teams. In terms of the all-time series, the Rams own a 7-4 advantage.
A pair of free throws by Derrick Marks with 14 seconds remaining were just what the Broncos needed to bring home the one-point win against New Mexico last week in Idaho. Marks finished the game with 11 points and eight assists, while Anthony Drmic netted 18 points to pace Boise State and Thomas Bropleh chipped in 14 points off the bench. Ryan Watkins notched a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds in the win.
Drmic, who is tied with Jeff Elorriaga for the team lead with 50 3-pointers on the season, paces the program in scoring overall with 17.2 ppg. Marks is coming in a close second with 15.8 ppg, generating a team-best 70 assists and 41 steals, but those numbers still don't make up for the fact that he has converted just 26.9 percent of his 3-point tries. Watkins accounts for not just 11.0 ppg, but also 10.6 rpg, even though he frequently deals with foul trouble.
More than anything else, the Rams hurt themselves with a boat-load of turnovers in the first half against a Fresno State squad that traded them in for 17 points, en route to a 38-25 lead at the break and an eventual victory at home. Daniel Bejarano tried to keep it together for CSU as he scored a game-high 24 points and cleared six rebounds, but he fouled out before the final buzzer. Jon Octeus chipped in 14 points and nine boards in the setback as well.
Held to just eight points on 2-of-8 shooting from the floor against Fresno State, J.J. Avila is still the top scorer overall for the Rams this season with his 16.9 ppg, although he has hurt himself and the team with just 29.3 percent accuracy beyond the arc. Second on the unit in both scoring (16.2 ppg) and assists (83), Bejarano is the ruler of the glass for CSU with 8.3 rpg, and that alone should influence his decision to refrain from taking too many shots from the perimeter.
Trying to regain their composure after a couple of surprising setbacks, the Rams have little time to feel sorry for themselves with BSU coming to town tonight. In fact, CSU has to be careful not to be caught off guard by a Broncos squad that is riding a high right now.
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