The Boise State sophomore scored 34 points and matched a career best with six 3-pointers Friday night to lead the Broncos to an 89-70 victory over LSU.
It was a huge turnaround from last December’s meeting in Baton Rouge when Drmic went scoreless in 28 minutes and Boise State suffered a 19-point loss.
“Going out to LSU and having a doughnut — that definitely isn’t what I want to do,” said Drmic, who made 12 of 18 shots and 6 of 10 3-pointers Friday. “So I definitely came out with a chip on my shoulder to prove something.”
With a crowd of 11,210 looking on, Derrick Marks scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half and Ryan Watkins had 12 points and a career-high 17 rebounds as the Broncos (7-2) won for the fourth time in five games and beat a Southeastern Conference school for the first time in four tries.
Corban Collins scored 19 points for LSU (6-1). Johnny O’Bryant III added 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting but fouled out with 8:59 remaining for the Tigers, who were playing their first road game.
O’Bryant’s foul trouble along with Watkins’ stellar play on the boards helped Boise State to a 44-27 rebounding advantage that included 20 on the offensive end.
The 6-foot-9 Watkins had 10 offensive rebounds and was fueled by the opportunity to go up against the 6-9, 262-pound O’Bryant and 7-3 Andrew Del Piero.
“I just wanted to show that I can rebound with the big players,” Watkins said.
LSU committed 20 turnovers and coach Johnny Jones cited the 30 points Boise State scored off turnovers to go with 22 second-chance points as too much to overcome.
“That’s 52 off the rebounds and the points off turnovers and you can’t give up 52 points and expect to win the game that way,” Jones said. “I thought they took advantage of every opportunity.”
Drmic certainly took advantage of his chances to bounce back from that dreadful night in which he missed all seven of his field-goal attempts on LSU’s home floor.
Boise State coach Leon Rice and his staff made sure in the days leading up the contest that Drmic didn’t forget about the porous outing.
“We made sure it stuck with him,” Rice said. “These guys are great because you can really challenge them and they respond to some challenges. I thought Anthony did that .
“They challenged him on the fact that we didn’t remember him being at the game last year. And stat-wise he wasn’t.”
Drmic scored 19 points and Boise State forced 10 turnovers en route to taking a 43-30 halftime lead. The Broncos pushed the lead to 60-40 on two free throws by Marks with 13:35 remaining.
Drmic’s final 3-pointer came in timely fashion. The Tigers had rolled off nine straight points to pull within 60-49 with 10:20 remaining when Drmic calmly drained one from the right wing to start a 15-7 surge that built the lead back to 19 with 5:44 to play.
“We lost him in transition some and gave him some easy looks in the beginning of the game and let his confidence get up,” Collins said. “He was able to knock down open shots. We didn’t close out hard enough and let his confidence build the whole game.”
LSU guard Anthony Hickey returned from a one-game suspension and finished with three points on 1-of-6 shooting. Hickey missed a game on Dec. 11 for a “violation of athletic department and university policy.”
The Tigers trailed by 13 points when O’Bryant fouled out and his loss crippled the chances of a comeback.
“It was very frustrating,” O’Bryant said. “I think I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Rice and the Broncos had been concerned with how to defend him.
“That’s a real good way to guard him if he’s sitting there behind me,” Jones said. “And unfortunately he was.”
Drmic made four 3-pointers in the first half as Boise State overcame a cold start — the Broncos began the game by going 3 of 14 from the field.
Hickey didn’t play in the first half. He was suspended on Dec. 7 and missed the Tigers’ victory over Tennessee-Chattanooga on Dec. 11.
By MIKE SULLIVAN