Broncos Battle for 81-75 Win in Opener
Nov. 14, 2014

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LOS ANGELES- Boise State men's basketball came back from a slow start and early deficit for an 81-75 victory Friday, against San Diego in the season opener for both teams. Anthony Drmic led the Broncos with 21 points and nine rebounds.

Five Broncos (1-0) scored in double figures, including Drmci's 29th-career 20-point performance. Mikey Thompson and David Wacker added 12 points, while Montigo Alford and Rob Heyer had 10 points apiece.

Wacker became the third Bronco freshman to start a season opener in the last 10 years. Drmic and Igor Hadziomerovic both started the 2011-12 opener. Prior to that, Coby Karl was the last freshman to do so in 2003-04.

Head coach Leon Rice went to his bench early and often, playing 12 men in the first 15 minutes of the game. The Broncos outscored San Diego 34-12 in bench points, including a number of strong performances from new faces.

Alford, Kevin Allen, Heyer, Chandler Hutchison, Wacker and James Webb III saw their first official action as Broncos. Heyer saw the most action, playing 27 minutes. Only Drmic was on the floor more with 35 minutes. Heyer did a little bit of everything for the Broncos with 10 points, four rebounds, two assists, two blocks and drew two charges.

Heyer hit a pair of three-pointers, including a corner triple with 3:56 to play that put the Broncos up 73-63.

Allen score nine points and grabbed six rebounds in just eight minutes of action. He was saddled with foul trouble, picking up three fouls while on the floor. That was a theme for the Broncos. At halftime, Allen had three fouls, Nick Duncan, Hadziomerovic, Wacker and Webb each had two. There were 63 fouls called as each team attempted 44 free throws.

Boise State held San Diego without a field goal for nearly 10 minutes in the second half (15:03-5:35), but was unable to build a sizable lead as the Toreros went 15-for-19 from the free throw line during that span.

The game was still in the balance as the clock ticked down, in part because the Broncos were 8-for-17 from the free throw line in the final five minutes.

San Diego's Johnny Dee- who led all scorers with 25 points- brought the Toreros back within four with 19 seconds remaining when he banked in a lunging 30-footer. The margin was still four after a pair of missed free throws. Dee pulled up for another deep three, but the 5-foot-9 Alford leapt to block the shot from behind. The Bronco guard corralled the rebound, dribbled out the clock until he was fouled and calmly sank two free throws for the final margin.

Boise State led 35-33 at halftime, after trailing much of the half. The Toreros took a seven-point lead at 20-13 a little more than 10 minutes into the game. The Broncos chipped away, taking their first lead of the night at 23-22 on a three-pointer by Heyer with 6:47 left in the half. San Diego regained the lead and stretched it back to five moments later, but a 10-1 Boise State run changed the tide.

Jake Ness hit a pair of free throws with 43 seconds left in the half to establish the 35-33 lead Boise State would take into the locker room. They were Ness' first points since Jan. 30, 2013.

Boise State is now 32-4 under Rice when scoring at least 80 points. It is the eighth-straight season-opening victory for the Broncos, who are now 29-18 all-time in openers.

Boise State returns to the floor Saturday, against tournament-host Loyola Marymount. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. (PT) from Gersten Pavilion.


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