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Drmic shines as Boise State handles Nevada

Anthony Drmic had his way on Senior Night, scoring 22 points to help the Broncos win their 20th game of the season. After surgery and a disappointing stretch mid-season, Drmic appears to have saved his best for last in the final games of his career.

Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Drmic led Boise State (20-10, 11-6) with a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds as the Broncos coasted by Nevada (18-11, 10-7) on Senior Night at Taco Bell Arena by a final score of 76-57. James Webb III, returning after missing a game with a knee injury, had 15 points, six rebounds, three steals, and two blocks in an encouraging performance. Nevada's Tyron Criswell and Eric Cooper Jr. tallied 11 points apiece for the Wolf Pack.

Although an important game in the seeding race for the Mountain West Tournament, coach Leon Rice dedicated the night to the seniors playing their final game in Boise. Anthony Drmic, the fifth-year senior by the way of Melbourne, Australia, finished 10-18 from the field, as he passed 2015 Mountain West Player of the Year Derrick Marks on the Boise State all-time scoring list. With 22 points Wednesday night, Drmic is now 28 points shy of the Bronco record with at least two games (Saturday against San Jose State and at least one Mountain West Tournament game) remaining on the schedule.

Coach Rice's lineup featured each of the four seniors for the first time this season: fifth-year senior Anthony Drmic, Boston College transfer Lonnie Jackson, Las Vegas native Mikey Thompson, and former JUCO transfer Montigo Alford. The seniors combined for 38 points and 26 rebounds and enjoyed a tremendous ovation from the 8,495 in attendance.

The Broncos raced out of gates with a quick 9-0 run, all scored by seniors. Boise State kept the foot on the gas pedal in the closing minutes with an 8-0 scoring stretch, giving the Broncos a 41-29 advantage at halftime. Instead of letting a large lead slip, Boise State made sure the seniors went out on a pleasant note as BSU cruised to a dominating win. Anthony Drmic recorded a layup 15 seconds after the opening tip, and the Broncos maintained the lead the rest of the night, similar to the dominating home victory in February against Wyoming.

Wednesday's performance was not only a showcase of the Boise State seniors, but a much-needed win to propel the Broncos to a top three seed for next week's conference tournament in Las Vegas. Boise State can clinch a two seed with a win over San Jose Saturday and a Fresno State loss to Utah State. The Broncos appear to be hitting their stride at the right time of the season with consecutive wins over two of the better teams in the conference.

As for Nevada, the Wolf Pack is a game behind the Broncos in the standings, but can clinch a first round bye with a win against New Mexico. With a loss, the Wolf Pack would drop to the six seed and would face San Jose State in the first round of the Mountain West Tournament.

Nevada is still without its top player Marqueze Coleman (17.0 PPG and 3.7 APG) who is battling an ankle injury and missed a second consecutive game Wednesday night. Not only is Coleman a senior leader for a fairly young Nevada roster, but the Los Angeles native accounts for the second-highest playing time percentage on the team (73.2%) and ranks 27th in the country in fouls drawn per 40 minutes (7.1). Nevada is extremely capable of making a run in the MW tourney, but without Coleman it would be an uphill climb. The guard should be able to return in time to participate in the tournament, but his expected playing time remains unknown.