After a dry spell that included a school-worst eight-game losing skid, Boise State is showing signs of life.
The Broncos defeated TCU 65-64 on Feb. 18 for their third straight victory. It also marked the second straight game in which Boise State scored the winning points with less than a second remaining.
Anthony Drmic hit two free throws with nine-tenths of a second left in the victory over the Horned Frogs. Three days earlier, Boise State defeated Colorado State on Derrick Marks' basket with eight-tenths of a second left.
"The beauty of our young guys is that they're resilient," Broncos coach Leon Rice said.
In the victory over Colorado State, Marks took an inbounds pass and dashed up the court and banked in the winning points. Against TCU, Drmic grabbed a rebound off a missed free throw and drove all the way down before getting fouled.
"I got the rebound and pretty much I don't remember what happened from there," Drmic said. "I just pushed the ball as hard as I could, got fouled and fortunately knocked down the two free throws."
Boise State (13-12, 3-7) gets a second shot at UNLV on Wednesday and it will be interesting to see how the Broncos fare in Las Vegas. Boise State pushed the Rebels into overtime at home in late January in what would have been an epic victory for a team that was then winless in Mountain West play.
Boise State is just 1-8 on the road this season and only one of its final four regular-season games are at home.
• Boise State coach Leon Rice is showing a heavy commitment to his recruits and the Broncos have set a school record with 39 starts by freshmen.
Forward Anthony Drmic has started 24 games, and guard Derrick Marks has made eight starts. Guard Igor Hadziomerovic has made four starts and guard Joe Hanstad has started three times.
"These freshman are getting more experience and experience is key for any young team," sophomore forward Thomas Bropleh said.
The former school record for freshman starts was 38-in 1989-90 and 1993-94.
Junior center Kenny Buckner is also in his first season with the Broncos and the junior college transfer has started 10 times. Junior forward Drew Wiley, a transfer from Oregon, has made nine starts.
• Boise State was 0-9 when trailing at halftime before overcoming a two-point intermission deficit to beat TCU.
• The Broncos have made 84.7 percent of their free throws over the past three games.
By The Numbers: 60.9-Kenny Buckner's team-leading field-goal percentage.
Quote To Note: "I'm a big believer that you win games by going to the hole. It was a heck of a play by him and that's what he's good at."-Boise State coach Leon Rice after Derrick Marks drove the length of the court for the winning basket against Colorado State.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
This Week's Games:
• at UNLV, Feb. 22
Key Matchups: Boise State nearly missed out on a major upset when it fell to UNLV 77-72 in overtime last month. The Broncos were unable to corral Rebels standout Mike Moser (18 points, 21 rebounds) and allowed 13 3-pointers. Freshman guard Derrick Marks asserted himself well against UNLV's athletic backcourt with 21 points.
• at Wyoming, Feb. 25
Key Matchups: The Broncos received only 25 points from their starting five in the first meeting and had trouble defending Wyoming's Luke Martinez (17 points) and Francisco Cruz (16). A big concern is keeping Leonard Washington from erupting as Boise State's interior defense sometimes gets exposed. Center Kenny Buckner has played well of late and will duel Wyoming's Adam Waddell.
Futures Market: Boise State is relying more and more on promising freshman guard Derrick Marks and the youngster is showing he's fearless in driving down the lane. Marks scored 13 second-half points against TCU and the Horned Frogs were helpless when it came to defending him. Coach Leon Rice called for Marks to have the ball in the final play against Colorado State, which is the type of confidence boost that helps a freshman mature even faster. Marks is averaging 9.2 points and shooting 51.3 percent from the floor.
• Junior C Kenny Buckner had 12 points against TCU and is averaging 13.3 points and shooting 68.6 percent from the field over the past four games.
• Freshman G Igor Hadziomerovic has played in the past two games after missing 13 games with a foot injury.
• Senior PG Westly Perryman played just 11 minutes in the past two games since returning from a one-game suspension.