Coach Rice talks Blue Mamba, tournament hopes
Photo: Video by IdahoOnYourSide.com
Derrick Marks has scored 476 points this year. He has snagged 108 rebounds, and dished out 114 assists.
But his second block Saturday night have been the biggest play of Boise State's season.
If Marks didn't save the day, San Diego State would've been down just one in the closing seconds of Saturday's game. Instead, the Broncos maintained their three point lead and hit enough free throws down the stretch to top the Aztecs, 69-65.
Marks filled the box score with 27 points, nine rebounds, and six assists, helping BSU beat SDSU for the first time in school history. Coach Rice said he didn't talk to Derrick while he lit up the Aztecs in the second half, but Leon did tell the other guys on the floor to get marks the ball.
"I'd tap Jeff (Elorriaga) and say 'Hit him again, hit him again,'" laughed Rice. "Same dice, give me the same dice."
"I'm probably getting a little too spoiled," reasoned Rice. "When I go back on film, I go 'Wow, that was pretty impressive.'"
Derrick's clutch performances in the final 20 minutes of games have earned him the nickname "Blue Mamba," but Marks laughs off comparisons to the Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant.
"I'm not even close to Kobe at all," said Marks. "But I like it i guess. It's clever."
Marks and the Mountain West's leading scorer, Anthony Drmic (18.8 PPG), are on the verge of leading Boise State to its first-ever at-large NCAA Tournament berth.
"Now it's to a point where we just do what we can do," said Rice. "I think we definitely helped our cause... There's a lot of people saying that's the case."
Before the Broncos can dream of the Big Dance, they will play San Diego State again in the first round of the Mountain West Tournament. Coach Rice admitted it was strange to play a team back-to-back, but he knows there's no easy road through the league tourney.
"Somebody is probably going to have to beat three top-25 caliber teams. It's going to be a great tournament. We're going to go down there and compete our tails off."