Derrick Marks scored 27 points,Anthony Drmic finished with 23 and Boise State led from start to finish Mar. 9 in a 69-65 victory over San Diego State at Taco Bell Arena. The tandem combined for 34 of Boise State’s 38 points in the second half.
Marks scored 22 of his 27 in the second half and the Broncos (21-9, 9-7 Mountain West) held off a comeback attempt by the San Diego State to earn a split of the season series. It is the fifth game this season the sophomore has scored at least 20 second-half points.
In front of its fourth crowd of 10,000 or more this season, Boise State led wire-to-wire and picked up its first win over San Diego State in five tries.
“That was big – you can say it was a monkey on our back, but the bottom line is they know how to win games, and the great thing is, so do our guys,” Boise State coach Leon Rice told the Idaho Statesman. “They’re getting better at it. We’ve learned stuff from playing against them.”
The Broncos relied on their second-half sharpshooter to get them there. Marks grabbed nine rebounds and blocked a San Diego State layup attempt in the final minute to help Boise State hang on for the victory.
In a game that “had a lot riding on it,” according to Rice, the Broncos (21-9, 9-7 Mountain West) inched closer to an NCAA Tournament spot with their win over the Aztecs (21-9, 9-7. The Aztecs, who trailed by as many as 15 points in the second half, had pulled within 66-63 with 26 seconds left on a 3-pointer by Chase Tapley, who had 17. San Diego state forced a turnover in the backcourt immediately after Tapley’s triple, but Marks was there to swat away the point-blank attempt.
Xavier Thames led San Diego State (21-9, 9-7) with 18 points while Jamaal Franklin added 15 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out.
Drmic scored 11 points in the first half when the Broncos led by as many as 16 and took a 12-point edge into the locker room.
Kenny Buckner, the Broncos’ lone senior, was honored before the game and received the start in his final regular-season home game. Buckner grabbed 11 rebounds against the Aztecs.
The teams will meet again Wednesday in a Mountain West tournament quarterfinal in Las Vegas. San Diego State holds the tiebreaker by virtue of a win over New Mexico, thus the Aztecs are the No. 4 seed and the Broncos are the No. 5 seed. Boise State and San Diego State also met in the quarterfinals of the 2012 conference tournament.
Boise State finished the regular season 14-1 at Taco Bell Arena, with the only loss coming in overtime against MW regular-season champion New Mexico.