Second-Half Surge Pushes Broncos Past Vandals

BOISE, Idaho-Derrick Marks keyed a second-half comeback as Boise State defeated Idaho 78-68 Thursday, in a neutral-site game played at CenturyLink Arena in downtown Boise. Marks scored 21 of his game-high 25 points in the second half.

Boise State (8-2) trailed by as many as 11 in the first half before cutting it to eight at the break. It is just the second time this season the Broncos have faced a double-digit deficit, the other instance coming in their Dec. 5 loss at Utah. This time they were up to the challenge, outscoring the Vandals 49-31 after intermission.

With the win, Boise State head coach Leon Rice improves to 4-0 against Idaho and the Broncos now lead the all-time series 52-35.

Ryan Watkins led the Broncos on the glass with seven rebounds, all coming in the decisive second half. Watkins was also a scoring threat, pouring in 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field.

Marks was held to just four points in the first half, but found his groove in the second period. He hit the 20-point plateau for the fourth time this season, giving him 13-straight games scoring in double figures. That streak, which dates to last season, is the second-longest active streak in the Mountain West.

Marks attacked the basket for most of the second half, helping him get to the free throw line. He converted 13-of-14 attempts for the game, all in the second half. The sophomore guard knocked down his first eight free throws of the game, extending his personal streak to 20-consecutive made attempts after going 12-of-12 at the stripe Dec. 14, against LSU. Marks also knocked down a pair of three-pointers in the second half, his first-career game with multiple triples.

Idaho center Kyle Barone helped the Vandals (4-6) take a 37-29 lead into the locker room at halftime. Barone was 6-of-6 from the floor and had 14 points at the break. Idaho shot 65 percent as a team, making 13-of-20 field goals.

Jeff Elorriaga buried three-pointers on back-to-back possessions midway through the second half to tie the game at 52. After nearly two minutes without a score by either team Igor Hadziomerovic stole the ball and raced in for a go-ahead layup. The 54-52 edge was Boise State's first lead since taking a 6-4 advantage less than three minutes into the game.

Elorriaga's triples were the start of a 13-1 run that energized the Blue-and-Orange-clad sections of the bipartisan arena and gave the Broncos the momentum. The game was played in front of a capacity crowd as 5,548 packed into CenturyLink Arena.

Mikey Thompson kept the Broncos in the game early on, scoring all 11 of his points in the first half. Thompson, a redshirt freshman, has scored in double figures six times this season off the bench.

Hadziomerovic also finished in double figures, scoring 10 points, his third game in double digits. It is the fourth time this season four Broncos scored at least 10 points in the same game.

Boise State will next take the floor in another neutral-site game Sunday, when the Broncos take on New Orleans in Las Vegas. Tip off will be at 2 p.m. (MT) at the MGM Grand.

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