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Marks deftly takes on different roles

Marks deftly takes on different roles

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant


Posted on February 25, 2013 at 8:35 AM

Monday, February 25, 2013.

Boise State won its first road game in 6½ weeks Saturday night, dropping Fresno State 72-63 at the Save Mart Center.  And the Broncos did it without leading scorer Derrick Marks making a field goal.  That’s not going to be a regular occurrence certainly, but it’s possible when Marks contributes in other ways.  The sophomore guard pulled down five rebounds, dished out seven assists, and turned the ball over just once against the Bulldogs.  In his past two games, Marks has 16 assists versus just two turnovers. 

Marks may be transforming before our very eyes.  He took some heat in the nailbiter against New Mexico last month for dribbling out all of the shot clock on the Broncos’ last possession of regulation and forcing a contested shot (BSU lost in overtime).  But coach Leon Rice’s quote in the Statesman after the game Saturday night indicates that what we see as the new Marks is indeed the real Marks.  “He’s uniquely inselfish for how good of a scorer he is,” said Rice.  Look out when the scoring opportunities present themselves again.

Marks’ assists were making it happen for Anthony Drmic and Jeff Elorriaga against the Bulldogs.  While Elorriaga was getting his long-range stroke back with six three-pointers, Drmic was doing his now-you-don’t-see-me-now-you-do routine.  The gritty Australian had three points at halftime—then bullied the Bulldogs with 25 in the second half in one of his better performances as a Bronco.  Funny thing, Drmic scored just two points in the first half against Air Force last Wednesday before putting up 21 after the intermission to keep the Falcons at bay.  That’s 46 second half points in the past two games.  With the win over Fresno State, the Broncos evened their conference record at 6-6 and moved into a tie for fifth place.  Up next is Nevada Wednesday night in Taco Bell Arena.

The Game of the Week in the Mountain West was the one between the conference’s two ranked teams.  The one sitting higher in the polls wrecked the other one’s 27-game winning streak, as New Mexico took down Colorado State at Moby Arena, 91-82.  The Lobos’ Kendall Williams had a game for the ages, equaling Elorriaga’s Mountain West record with 10 three-pointers and registering 46 points.  Eighteen of them came in the final six minutes of the game while he was saddled with four fouls.  New Mexico has a two-game lead in the Mountain West with four games to go.

The name of the network changed over the weekend, but the dollars didn’t in the Big East’s new TV contract.  And Boise State’s decision to stay in the Mountain West continues to look like a solid one.  ESPN matched NBC Sports Network’s offer of seven years and $130 million.  That gives each Big East school less per year than the current ESPN deal—and six times less than the $1.17 billion ESPN offer the conference turned down two years ago.  Since then, 16 schools have either left or announced they were leaving the Big East, including three that never played a game in the league (TCU, Boise State and San Diego State).

D.J. Harper is projected to be an undrafted free agent in April.  If that’s the case, he may have overachieved a bit yesterday at the NFL Combine.  The Combine’s unforgiving digital timing in the 40-yard dash levels the playing field, and Harper’s 4.52 time was actually upper-echelon, tying for sixth among 33 running backs.  Harper’s other top marks came in the bench press (10th out of 31) and the broad jump (12th out of 32).  The former Boise State star’s other scores were middle-of-the-pack.  Ex-Bronco Jamar Taylor is set to lift today and run drills tomorrow.  Former Idaho standout Bobby Cowan competed Friday and got high marks, with calling him the best punter of the lot in Indianapolis.

Spring football already?  Boise State starts in two weeks, but Fresno State and San Diego State start today.  The Bulldogs, resolutely putting their embarrassing 43-10 loss to SMU in the Hawaii Bowl behind them, eagerly anticipate Derek Carr’s senior year.  Carr adapted well to coach Tim DeRuyter’s new up-tempo offense last season as Fresno State finished 12th in the nation in passing offense, 16th in total offense and 17th in scoring.  But, after running off an average of 77 players per game last year, Fresno State wants to pick up the pace even more this year. 

It took a shootout, but San Francisco figured out a way to cool off the Idaho Steelheads Saturday night.  Tristan King, who was a Steelhead last week but found himself on the Bulls roster over the weekend, looked like he was possessor of an ironic game-winner when he gave San Francisco a 3-2 lead with nine minutes left in the game.  But Tyler Gron knotted it for Idaho with 1:54 remaining, scoring his second goal of the game and 13th in 19 games as a Steelie.  In the shootout, though, it was all Bulls against goalie Josh Robinson, countering the spectacular 4-0 shutout Robinson laid on the visitors Friday night.  Idaho is nine points behind the Alaska Aces in the ECHL Mountain Division going into Wednesday night’s game against Utah at CenturyLink Arena.

February isn’t ending the way it started for the Idaho Stampede, and it’s been happening in agonizing fashion.  The Stampede lost their third straight close decision yesterday, falling 102-100 in overtime at Reno.  The Stamps blew an 11-point lead at the end of the third quarter in dropping to 10-21 on the season.  They were beautifully balanced, with all five starters scoring between 12 and 17 points.  But so were the Bighorns with each of their starting five logging between 16 and 21 points.   The Stampede now head down to El Segundo to take on the L.A. D-Fenders tonight.

Tickets to the Davis Cup match between the U.S. and Serbia April 5-7 in Taco Bell Arena go on sale today to U.S. Tennis Association members.  Ticket sales for non-USTA members begin Wednesday.  Serbia will be led by Novak Djokovic, still No. 1 in the world by a comfortable margin.  Fellow Serbian Janko Tipsarevic is No. 9.  American Davis Cup singles players John Isner and Sam Querrey are 17th and 21st, respectively, in ATP rankings.

Boise State finished third among the men and fourth among the women at the Mountain West Indoor Track and Field Championships Saturday in Nampa.  The Broncos had two multiple champions—Daveon Collins and Jordin Andrade were both part of the winning men’s 4x400 relay, with Collins adding titles in the 60 and 200-meters and Andrade taking the 400.  Elsewhere, San Diego State denied Boise State a second straight Mountain West swimming and diving title, running away with the competition in San Antonio.  The Bronco women finished second.

This Day In Sports…February 25, 2010:

Boise’s Jeret “Speedy” Peterson lands his famed Hurricane jump and wins a silver medal in the men’s aerials at the 2010 Winter Olympics.  Peterson had missed landing the Hurricane at Torino four years earlier, finishing seventh.  He was then sent home by the U.S. team after a drunken fight with a close friend.  Peterson’s life took many difficult turns after that, leading to a hiatus from competitive skiing.  But Speedy quit drinking, returned to the World Cup circuit, and made the U.S. squad for the Vancouver Games.  Then he stuck a jump with the highest degree of difficulty in Olympic aerials history.  Peterson’s story would end tragically exactly 17 months later, though, when he took his own life.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket.  He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)