Friday, March 1, 2013.
Those 20-win seasons aren’t quite what they used to be, what with longer regular season schedules these days. But it’s still a big deal at Boise State, and the Broncos’ first chance at it comes tomorrow night when they host Colorado State in Taco Bell Arena’s first Black-Out. This would be a heck of a way to get No. 20. Of course, that can be said of any of these final three regular season games, with the Broncos headed for UNLV next Wednesday before finishing at home against San Diego State a week from tomorrow. But the Rams played Boise State tougher than those other two in the first conference go-round, stifling the Broncos 77-57 in Moby Arena. When and if No. 20 happens, it will be just the 10th time in 45 seasons as a four-year school that Boise State has reached that plateau.
Bob Behler asked Boise State coach Leon Rice on his KBOI postgame show Wednesday night if Colorado State is the most physical team in the Mountain West. “Without question, maybe the most physical in the country,” Rice replied. “It’s going to be a crusade just to get a rebound.” CSU is punishing on the boards—in the first meeting between these teams, Pierce Hornung and Colton Iverson combined for 22 rebounds. But Rice’s staff may devise something special to neutralize that duo. The Broncos clamped down on Nevada’s two stars, Deonte Burton and Malik Story, by employing a relentless double-team on defense Wednesday night. “This is the time of year we like to break out of lot of our stuff,” said Rice. Strategies like that can be risky, but, Rice said, “We like to err on the side of being aggressive.”
Here’s the turnaround story for Boise State. As a freshman, Anthony Drmic hit the wall when the Broncos got into Mountain West play last year. The grind of a new home in the MW saw Drmic’s scoring drop from 14.6 points per game in non-conference games to 9.1 in league matchups. Drmic’s shooting dipped from 44 percent to 31 percent, and his three-point accuracy plunged from 41 percent to 19 percent. This season the 6-6 Australian is averaging 18½ points per game in conference, shooting 44 percent from the field and 35 percent from three-point range. Drmic is peaking at the right time.
Graham DeLaet had a rather hot start at the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, yesterday. The former Boise State star fired a five-under 65 and is one shot behind first round leader Camilo Villegas. DeLaet racked up six birdies, including four over the first seven holes, versus one bogey on the PGA National course. Coming off what he calls the best West Coast Swing of his career, DeLaet hit 10 of 14 fairways and 17 of 18 greens in regulation. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy both shot 70, by the way.
One of the stories coming out of the NFL Combine earlier this week was the rumor that the New York Jets were actively shopping injured star Darrelle Revis. Other NFL teams may be hesistant, wondering how Revis’ ACL is going to heal. That leaves former Boise State star Kyle Wilson wondering what his role with the Jets will be moving forward. Wilson took over Revis’ cornerback spot when he was injured—to mixed reviews. A year ago, Wilson was being mentored by Revis as they worked out together at a training facility in Arizona. Jets fans are sour on Wilson; Jets coaches not so much.
Here’s the count and the amount on the Idaho Steelheads roster as the club prepares for Utah tonight and tomorrow night in CenturyLink Arena. In this crazy season influenced by the NHL lockout, there are only three players who have been on the Steelies roster since the first day of training camp: Ben Ondrus, Scott Todd and Neil Graham. And Graham has missed most of the season with an injury. The offensive forces that have been scooped up by the AHL since the NHL labor impasse ended in January go without saying. Yet coach Brad Ralph has been able to keep things together. The Steelheads are 11 points behind ECHL Mountain Division-leading Alaska with 15 games left in the regular season.
An update on the state of Idaho as a hockey hotbed. Former Idaho Steelhead and Ketchum native Cody Lampl was called up by Grand Rapids of the AHL from Toledo of the ECHL Wednesday and will be available for a game at Milwaukee tonight. Lampl just became a father, by the way. And Sun Valley native Joey Sides, a forward for the ECHL’s Colorado Eagles, has spent time with St. John’s of the AHL this season. So both of the kids who grew up in the Wood River Valley have made it to the highest level of minor league hockey in North America.
An anemic quarter led to another loss for the Idaho Stampede yesterday. Leading at Canton by 15 points at the half, the Stampede scored only 12 points in the third quarter and couldn’t get their mojo back in a 115-109 loss to the Charge. Three players made their Stampede debuts in the game. JaJuan Johnson, who just came over from Canton, scored 24 points, Reggie Hamilton had nine points on 4-of-7 shooting, and Mustapha Farrakhan recorded five points in 11 minutes. The Stamps play at Fort Wayne tomorrow night. Only one D-League franchise has a season record worse than Idaho’s, and the Stampede play that team, the Iowa Energy, on Sunday.
Recapping the Treasure Valley teams that advanced in the boys state basketball tournaments yesterday. Three schools moved on in 5A, Borah, Rocky Mountain and Mountain View. Rocky rattled Lake City, 61-33—the Grizzlies and Lions may be headed for another showdown Saturday night. Skyview advanced in 4A, Fruitland is a semifinalist in 3A, New Plymouth moved on in 2A, and Liberty Charter of Nampa is into the semis in 1A Division I.
Campus things: The Boise State gymnastics team will host Southern Utah in its final home meet tonight in Taco Bell Arena. It’s Senior Night for the Broncos, who are 8-2 on the season. The Boise State wrestlers carry an eight-match winning streak into the Pac-12 Wrestling Championships tomorrow. Three individual Broncos are on a roll as well—Jason Chamberlain has won 21 consecutive matches, Jake Swartz 15 and George Ivanov 10. And the Boise State men’s tennis team hosts Utah tomorrow morning at the Appleton Center and Gonzaga tomorrow evening at the Boise Racquet & Swim Club.
The National Association of Athletic Development Directors has announced Bob Madden as the recipient of its 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award. Congrats to Madden, who’s been a figurehead at the Bronco Athletic Association for 33 years. He’ll accept the award June 14 at the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup Luncheon in Orlando.
This Day In Sports…March 1, 1969:
After batting only .245 and .237 the previous two seasons, and with his knees failing him, 37-year-old Mickey Mantle retires after 18 seasons with the New York Yankees. Mantle hit 536 career home runs and played on seven Yankee world championship teams. He won three MVP’s, four home run titles, and the 1956 Triple Crown with a league-leading .353. batting average, 52 homers, and 130 runs batted in.
(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.)