San Diego State slows potent duo early, fends off Boise State

Less than one week ago, Derrick Marks and Anthony Drmic combined for 50 points, including 34 of Boise State’s 38 in the second half, to lift the Broncos to a four-point win over San Diego State in the teams’ regular-season finale.

The Aztecs wouldn’t let that happen again in their Mountain West tournament quarterfinal rematch.

The duo still accounted for 34 points, but it took 42 shots to get there, and they came mostly during a second-half rally that fell short as fourth-seeded San Diego State held on for a 73-67 victory in the day’s final game Wednesday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.

The Aztecs’ defense was particularly effective on Marks and Drmic in the first half, with Jamaal Franklin largely covering Drmic and Xavier Thames on Marks. The high-scoring pair combined to make 3 of 17 shots from the field and totaled seven points.

Marks struggled mightily, missing all nine of his shots from the field before intermission as San Diego State (22-9) opened an 11-point lead in the first half and led 33-26 at the break. The fifth-seeded Broncos went more than eight minutes without a field goal late in the half.

The struggles continued after halftime as Marks and Drmic combined to miss their first four shots, and San Diego State stretched its lead to 42-30.

Marks missed his first 12 shots from the field before making a layup with 11:30 to play. By that time, the Aztecs’ lead had grown to 13 points.

Marks and Drmic found their points late, and Boise State (21-10) took a short-lived lead at 50-49 with just over eight minutes left. But San Diego State answered with two free throws from Franklin and four straight points from Thames and never relinquished the lead.

Franklin finished with 19 points, while Thames had 18 and Chase Tapley 17 for the Aztecs.

Drmic finished with 20 points on 7-for-20 shooting from the field, while Marks had 14 on 4-for-22 shooting.

Findlay Prep alum Winston Shepard completed a three-point play under the basket with just under a minute to play to put San Diego State up 64-57.

The Aztecs advanced to play top-seeded New Mexico at 6 p.m. Friday.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.

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