Watkins leads Boise State past Fresno State 86-79
BOISE, Idaho (AP)
Anthony Drmic scored 19 points for the Broncos (11-3, 1-0), who built a big lead with a 20-0 first-half run.
Tyler Johnson scored 22 points, Marvelle Harris added 19 and Cezar Guerrero had 16 for Fresno State (7-8, 0-2), which lost for the fifth time in six games.
Boise State's 20 consecutive points gave it a 32-13 lead with 8:33 left in the first half. The Broncos made five 3-pointers during the surge - including two by Thomas Bropleh to cap it - and later pushed the lead to 24 en route to a 46-25 halftime edge.
Fresno State made a frantic second-half push to move within 82-76 on a 3-pointer by Harris with 26.6 seconds left before Drmic and Mikey Thompson each hit two free throws to help Boise State hold on.
Allen Huddleston added 13 points for the Bulldogs, who were 13-of-31 from 3-point range. Johnson made a career-best five from behind the arc.
Jeff Elorriaga added 12 points for Boise State, which has won 10 straight home games against Fresno State. Junior guard Derrick Marks scored only four points but the output raised his career total to 1,002 and makes him the 24th player in school history to reach 1,000 career points.
The Broncos owned a 42-26 rebounding edge as Watkins fell one board shy of matching his career-high, which occurred last season against Fresno State. Watkins' previous season high for rebounds was 14 against Carroll College.
Watkins had 12 rebounds in the first half and Elorriaga made four of the Broncos' nine first-half 3-pointers. Watkins had more rebounds in the half than Fresno State did as a team as Boise State held a 27-11 advantage.
The Broncos had a 62-41 lead after Drmic's 3-pointer with 9:17 remaining before the Bulldogs used a 13-4 burst to creep within 12 on Cezar Guerrero's steal and layup with 5:07 to play.
Boise State appeared to re-establish control as it pushed the edge back up to 71-54 with three minutes left. But Fresno State scored 22 points over the next 2 1/2 minutes to make it a two-possession game before the Broncos wrapped up their seventh win in the last eight meetings with the Bulldogs.