BOISE, Idaho (AP) Leon Rice and Boise State finally got its signature win.
Anthony Drmic scored 19 points, and the Broncos overcame a double-digit deficit in the first half and held on to beat No. 24 Oregon 74-72 Saturday.
For Boise State (7-4), it was the first win over a ranked team in four tries. The Broncos already had lost twice to Arizona and to Michigan State.
”It’s a great win,” Boise State coach Rice said. ”We’ve just ran a gauntlet of great teams, and this is only going to make us better.”
James Webb III had 12 points and Mikey Thompson added 11 as the Broncos beat Oregon for the first time in six tries. It was also Boise State’s first home win against a ranked opponent since beating then-No. 21 Utah State on Feb. 14, 2009.
Oregon (7-2) fought back from a 67-50 deficit with 6:47 left to have a chance to win or force overtime. Dillon Brooks, who finished with a game-high 26 points, drove to the basket but his shot was off the mark as time expired.
”(Chandler Hutchison) was really close to me, so I couldn’t pull up for a 3,” said Brooks, who made 5 of 10 3-pointers. ”I drove it, the big man stepped up and then no call. It was my time to finish it and tie the game up, but it didn’t fall.”
Elgin Cook scored 22 points for Oregon, which lost for the second time in three games to a Mountain West team. The Ducks did play without leading scorer Tyler Dorsey and have been without star guard Dylan Ennis all season.
”I’ll tell you this – that Oregon team is going to be special when they get those guards back,” Rice said.
Oregon made eight of its first 10 shots and led 21-11 early. But the Ducks went on a scoring drought that lasted nearly six minutes as a 13-0 run by Boise State gave the Broncos a 24-21 lead. The Broncos wouldn’t trail again as the Ducks managed only three free throws in the final 5:18 of the half and missed 16 of their final 18 shots of the half.
Boise State’s reserves helped key the first-half turnaround. Zach Haney scored seven points and pulled down four rebounds, while Hutchison had eight points and seven rebounds and made a handful of hustle plays.
”To be a good team you have to have impact guys off the bench,” Drmic said. ”Those two tonight came off the bench doing big things, rebounding and hitting shots.”
Boise State led 41-28 at halftime and built the lead to 17 before the Ducks came back. Oregon forced five turnovers and made four 3-pointers in the final 4:44 to nearly pull off the comeback win.
”The last seven minutes we played pretty good and we started the game pretty good,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. ”But in between, they just outworked us.”
Starting point guard Casey Benson was injured in the final minute when the Ducks had the chance to tie, and the designed play wasn’t executed to Altman’s liking. Oregon didn’t have any timeouts to reset the play.
”We had a real bad possession there late,” Altman said. ”That’s my fault. We haven’t worked on it enough, and Casey wasn’t on the floor. I think he would have gotten us into it.”
Rice was going to focus on what the Broncos did well – not those sloppy final minutes that nearly allowed the signature victory to slip away.
”I told our guys to forget those last three minutes,” Rice said. ”We’ll learn a lot from it. We’re still developing as a team. We’ll do a lot better, but you’ve got to credit Oregon, because they managed it just right.”
Boise State: Drmic moved into fifth place on the Broncos’ all-time scoring list. Drmic passed Abe Jackson and now has 1,678 career points. Tanoka Beard (1,944) holds the all-time record. … Rice started his collegiate coaching career at Oregon. Rice was a graduate assistant from 1988 to1990, then served as an assistant coach from 1992.
Oregon: Leading scorer Tyler Dorsey missed his second consecutive game with a knee sprain he sustained during a Dec. 4 loss to UNLV in Las Vegas.
Boise State: Hosts Bradley on Dec. 20.
Oregon: Hosts UC Irvine on Tuesday.