Fresno State opened the second half with a 26-25 lead, but the first half momentum quickly disappeared as Boise State’s Anthony Drmic and Jeff Elorriaga caught fire. Anthony Drmic scored seven points on three straight possessions for Boise State, and a trio of Jeff Elorriaga three pointers capped a 16-2 run to open the second half.
“Drmic was tough for us to deal with,” said Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry.
“By committee he went to work on us and got to the paint and scored tough baskets… He’s gotten a lot stronger. A year ago he couldn’t do that and we knew going in that we needed to try and be physical with him.”
Boise State used a smaller lineup with the 6-foot-6 Drmic at the power forward spot. It was a matchup that gave the Bulldogs fits in the second half and forced Terry to use a four guard lineup. It would not make a difference as the crafty guard could create his own shot at will.
“They put their will on us,” Terry said. “Tonight we had to adjust and we never could really get on point with stopping those guys with the smaller lineup.”
“Our game plan going into this ballgame was to really try to impose our will on those guys by putting a bigger guy on the floor by trying to go inside and really try to attack their small guy… For whatever reason we weren’t able to get that ball inside and capitalize from the start of the game.”
Boise State pushed their lead to 18 points at the midway point of the second half as Drmic and Elorriaga combined for 24 of the Broncos’ 29 points in the 10-minute span.
The Bulldogs fought back to cut the lead to just six points with 2:16 remaining, but a quick foul sent the Broncos to the free throw line and pushed the lead back to three possessions .
In the two teams’ previous matchup, it was the duo of Derrick Marks and Drmic who took over, scoring a combined 53 points. The pair, which averages 32.6 points per game, had an unusually quiet first half Saturday, scoring just three points in the first 20 minutes.
On Saturday evening, it appeared that Allen Huddleston and Tyler Johnson would take control as they combined for 20 of the Bulldogs’ 26 first half points. Meanwhile, Marks and Drmic were held to just three points on four shot attempts.
The Broncos only needed one their key players to step up in the second half and Drmic came through in a big way. The sophomore guard scored 25 second half points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field and 11-14 from the free throw line. Three-point specialist Jeff Elorriaga gave the Broncos 20 total points, making 6-10 from beyond the arc.
Fresno State drops to 9-17 on the season and 3-10 in Mountain West play with three games remaining. The Bulldogs next play at Colorado State on Saturday at 6 p.m. PST.
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