BOISE, Idaho — The LSU men’s basketball team likely doesn’t remember much about Boise State guard Anthony Drmic’s 2011 visit to Baton Rouge.
The Tigers certainly won’t forget his 2012 performance in Boise. The 6-foot-6 sophomore from Australia had a career night, pouring in 34 points on 12-for-18 shooting as the host Broncos handed LSU its first loss of the season 89-70 Friday at Taco Bell Arena.
The victory avenged Boise State’s 64-45 loss to the Tigers last season — a game in which Drmic scored zero points, missing all nine of his shots. He led the way from start to finish Friday, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to open the scoring and throwing down an emphatic driving dunk to give the Broncos their largest lead of the night, 80-60, with 4:28 remaining.
“Going down to LSU (last year) and putting up a donut definitely wasn’t something I wanted to do,” Drmic said. “I came out with a chip on my shoulder, and with something to prove.”
Sophomore guard Derrick Marks added 23 points, six rebounds, six assists and four steals for Boise State (7-2), which took advantage of LSU foul trouble and 20 Tiger turnovers while rolling to victory in front of a raucous crowd of 11,210.
“Credit to Boise State: I thought they played a fine basketball game tonight,” LSU coach Johnny Jones said. “They’re a good team, and I think they’ve displayed that throughout the season.
“This was a good game for us to evaluate where we are, and how things turned out, we can do better.”
Reserve guard Corban Collins led LSU (6-1) with 19 points, including five 3-pointers. Forward Johnny O’Bryant III added 15 points and five rebounds in 22 foul-plagued minutes before fouling out with 8:59 remaining.
Boise State started the game with a bang, but the momentum quickly shifted to LSU. The Tigers clamped down on defense, building a 19-11 lead as Boise State missed 11-of-12 shots after Drmic’s hot start.
The teams traded rallies throughout the first half, but foul trouble changed the complexion of the game when O’Bryant picked up his second and third fouls on consecutive possessions. All three were offensive fouls, and the third sent O’Bryant to the bench for the final 5:31 of the half.
“It was very frustrating,” said O’Bryant, who had his three-game streak of double-doubles snapped. “The refs definitely blew their whistles tonight. … I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
The Broncos took advantage of O’Bryant’s absence, closing the half on a 16-3 run to take a 43-30 lead into the locker room. Drmic scored 19 first-half points, erasing memories of last year’s goose egg.
“We made sure it stuck with him,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said of Drmic’s 2011 performance. “That’s one of the great things about our guys — you can challenge them and they respond to it.”
Drmic made 6-of-10 attempts from beyond the arc, pacing a 42-percent 3-point shooting night for the Broncos.
“My teammates did a good job of getting me open,” Drmic said. “And I just started knocking down shots.”
O’Bryant tried to rally LSU early in the second half, but the Tigers never got closer than 11. With LSU’s top big man in foul trouble, Boise State junior post Ryan Watkins controlled the rebounding fact, finishing with 12 points and 17 rebounds, including 10 offensive boards.
“I thought Watkins did an excellent job for them,” Jones said. “One of the things we pride ourselves on is winning the war on the boards. They beat us 44-27, and that’s a big difference. They were quicker to the ball than we were.”
Boise State also enjoyed a 20-10 advantage in offensive rebounds, a 22-6 edge in second-chance points and a 30-18 advantage in points off of turnovers.
“Turnovers and offensive rebounds: Those are two areas where you can’t give up 52 points and expect to win the game,” Jones said.
Shavon Coleman finished with 11 points and seven rebounds for LSU, but the Tigers leading scorer wasn’t much of a factor in the second half.
LSU continues its three-game road swing Tuesday at UC-Irvine.
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