Bropleh leads Boise State over Wyoming 72-63
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) With its top scorer sidelined by injury and two other starters ailing, Boise State fell behind by 17 in the early going. But led by Thomas Bropleh and Ryan Watkins, the Broncos rallied to defeat Wyoming 72-63 on Saturday.
Bropleh scored 13 of his 20 points during a five-minute stretch to launch a comeback from a 21-4 deficit. Watkins finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds while Mikey Thompson added 14 points for Boise State (19-10, 9-7 Mountain West).
Josh Adams scored a career-high 29 points for Wyoming (17-12, 8-8), while Riley Grabau had 13 and Derek Cooke Jr. 11.
Boise State won without Anthony Drmic, who was averaging 16.9 points but sat out with a sprained ankle. Derrick Marks had a tooth infection and Jeff Elorriaga continued to be bothered by a bad back.
”They just have this crazy, almost psychotic toughness about them — that they just keep battling,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. ”Most teams would have given up or thought it’s over. When you’ve got character guys . and mentally tough guys, they somehow find a way. I don’t know how they figured it out, but they did.”
The Cowboys raced to leads of 15-0 and 21-4 after sinking 9 of their first 11 shots, including three straight 3s in the first 90 seconds by Adams, who finished the first half with 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting.
Bropleh jump-started the comeback, scoring on a putback, another layup and a trio of 3-pointers during a five-minute stretch of the first half, keying a 15-6 run that cut the Cowboys’ lead to eight. The Broncos were within 38-32 by the half.
”We just slowed down, we took a deep breath in that huddle and slowly chipped away,” said Bropleh, who matched his career high in scoring. ”I was just trying to be aggressive. I just wanted to attack and see what could happen.”
Boise State took its first lead, 43-42, with 14:39 remaining on a 3-pointer by Nick Duncan and stretched its advantage to 64-50 after consecutive 3s by Thompson. Wyoming drew within 66-60 after a layup by Grabau with 2:49 to play, but Watkins and Marks made back-to-back layups to put the game away.
”I thought our guards got whipped off the dribble,” Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt said. ”Our bigs gave up some interior shots.”
The Cowboys are 0-3 since Larry Nance Jr. went down with a season-ending knee injury and were also without suspended reserve Charles Hankerson Jr., forcing Shyatt to rely on five players nearly the whole game.
”I lean toward fatigue right now,” Shyatt said. ”We just didn’t have it in the tank down the home stretch.”
Adams sank his first four shots and topped his previous career-high of 20 points but said stats don’t matter – only that the team lost.
”We let shooters get through. In college athletics, if you’ve got a shooter that gets free, he’s going to make the shot,” he said. ”It’s on us. We need to play better defense.”
Boise State outrebounded Wyoming 31-18 and outshot the Cowboys 56 percent to 48 percent.