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Spartans get their Mountain West welcome

Spartans get their Mountain West welcome

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant


Posted on January 24, 2014 at 8:23 AM

Updated Friday, Jan 24 at 10:36 AM

Friday, January 24, 2014.

Boise State can relate to what San Jose State is going through right now heading into tomorrow afternoon’s game in Taco Bell Arena.  The Spartans, in the debut basketball season in the Mountain West, are 0-7 in conference play (6-13 overall) after Wednesday night’s 75-50 loss to No. 7 San Diego State.  The Broncos lost their first eight Mountain West games in 2012 on the way to a 3-11 record.  SJSU has also found what Boise State found two years ago—that the Mountain West can do wonders for attendance.  The Spartans’ crowd of 4,117 Wednesday, as small as it sounds, was their largest in more than 10 years.  At least San Jose State coach Dave Wojcik, formerly Leon Rice’s top assistant with the Broncos, has his team’s mindset right.  For example, the Spartans lost to New Mexico by just four points two weeks ago.  ‘Nuff said.

Here we go with the “City of Threes” hospitality issue again.  One week after a Utah State three-point blitz almost toppled Boise State, here comes San Jose State, another one of those schools that loves to hang out beyond the arc.  The Spartans lead the MW and are ranked among the top 5 nationally in three-point field goal attempts with 505, three-point makes with 182, and treys made per game with 9.6.

The Boise State bench remains a to-be-determined kind of thing.  Edmunds Dukulis played five minutes last week against Utah State, his first appearance since a minute versus South Carolina at the Diamond Head Classic.  And he scored two points against the Aggies, his first in two months.  It was expected he would get a little time against New Mexico’s bigs Tuesday, but it was Jake Ness making a cameo that lasted less than a minute.  It was also the first floor time for Ness since the win over South Carolina.  Most interesting, perhaps, is Igor Hadziomerovic, who started the Broncos’ first 17 games.  Hadziomerovic has seen just 12 minutes the past three games—and none at New Mexico.  The first guard subbing in beyond Mikey Thompson and Thomas Bropleh was true freshman Dezmyn Trent, who played three minutes and scored two points.

You never expect to see Boise State on this kind of a list.  In fact, you never have before.  But shared’s Top 100 recruits in the class of 2014 on its homepage yesterday, and there at No. 54 was Dylan Sumner-Gardner from West Mesquite High School in Mesquite, TX.  The thumbnail summary: “A heavy-hitting safety who collected 141 tackles, three forced fumbles and three interceptions as a senior, Sumner-Gardner is an early enrollee at Boise State.”  The Broncos are the only team from a non-power conference with a player listed in the Top 100.

The saga of Cleveland wide receiver Davone Bess has Hawaii fans relating to Boise State fans and their angst over the demise of Titus Young.  The former Warrior was arrested last Friday for assaulting a deputy, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in Florida.  Leading up to that, Bess had twice tweeted photos of something that appeared to be marijuana.  Ferd Lewis of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser called it “a series of bizarre episodes” that included Bess being removed from the Browns roster late in the season.  Does that sound familiar, or what?

Lewis maintains that during his UH days, most everyone liked Bess, who got a second chance partially due to the urging of Keith Bhonopha, a Warriors grad assistant who went on to join the Boise State staff.  Bess had lost a scholarship to Oregon State after an arrest and subsequent incarceration for possession of stolen items.  In just three seasons at Hawaii, coinciding with the Colt Brennan years, Bess set school records with 293 receptions and 41 touchdown catches.  As for Young, there’s nothing new on that front.  The former Boise State star was to have another hearing two weeks ago, but that came and went without any news.  It’s been eight months now since Young’s own series of bizarre episodes.

The Idaho Steelheads were able to catch their breath this week after a stretch that saw four games in six days.  They’ve been off since Monday—they’ll be back in CenturyLink Arena to host Bakersfield on Sunday.  But now the Steelheads have neither of the goalies they started the season with, as Pat Nagle has been called up to the AHL’s Texas Stars.  Original Steelies starter Josh Robinson has been with Texas the past month.  That leaves the netminding to rookie Josh Watson, who was signed by Idaho last week.  This might not be a good time in any case to play the Condors, who started the season 1-10-1 but have gone 15-7-2 since.  Bakersfield also features the reigning ECHL Goalie of the Week, Laurent Brossoit, and ECHL Player of the Week, Joel Broda.  Brossoit shut out the Steelheads twice in December.

The Idaho Stampede fell to the Austin Toros 102-101 last night despite a 32-point night from Pierre Jackson.  The Stamps have now gone 5-10 the past five weeks since their sizzling 8-0 start.  The big news for the club is the departure of forward Richard Howell, who has reportedly bought out his D-League contract to play in the Philippines.  Howell, the former North Carolina State standout, had been a force inside for the Stampede, averaging a double-double over his 20 games (18 points and 10.8 rebounds).  The Stamps now head for Tulsa to face the 66ers tomorrow night.

Simple math for former Boise State star Graham DeLaet in the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open.  Four birdies plus two bogeys equals two-under on the North Course at Torrey Pines.  The math wasn’t as simple for DeLaet’s one-time Bronco teammate, Troy Merritt, who was also two-under.  Merritt eagled the second hole and birdied the third on the North Course and carded three other birdies during his round, but he also had four bogeys.  Merritt especially has to be pleased with his first day in La Jolla, though, as it equaled his low round of what has been a challenging PGA Tour season so far.  The twin 70’s by DeLaet and Merritt are tied for 29th (hey, they’re two strokes ahead of Tiger).

The Olympic hopes of Middleton’s Erik Fisher are sitting largely on the slopes of the famed Kitzbuhel, Austria, resort this weekend.  Fisher is scheduled to ski the Super G today and the downhill tomorrow.  Fisher, a 2010 Olympian, finished 37th in the downhill in Wengen, Switzerland last Saturday.  But today is big.  “Kitzbuhel is my focus right now,” said Fisher over the holidays on Idaho SportsTalk.  “If I ski well there, it’ll give me a lot of momentum going into the Olympics.”  Fisher’s results had been steadily improving before his holiday break.  His Super G finishes went from 36th to 28th—in the downhill they went from 29th to a 13th just before Christmas at Val Gardena, Italy. 

Other campus doings:  The 15th-ranked Boise State gymnastics team hosts its second of five home meets tonight, welcoming Southern Utah to Taco Bell Arena.  The gymnasts are coming off a strong performance in Beauty & The Beast last week—the Bronco wrestlers are not.  Greg Randall’s team has a Pac-12 match at Arizona State tonight before returning home to Bronco Gym Sunday to host Lehigh.  And the College of Idaho men’s basketball team rides its highest ranking in almost seven years when it visits Southern Oregon tonight and Oregon Tech tomorrow night.  The Coyotes are No. 14 in the latest NAIA Division II Coaches Poll.

This Day In Sports…January 24, 1982:

Two weeks after Dwight Clark makes “The Catch”, the San Francisco 49ers win the first of their five Super Bowl titles, beating Cincinnati 26-21 in the Pontiac Silverdome.  The 49ers were held to 275 yards, but Joe Montana moved his offense into position for four Ray Wersching field goals, offsetting a 300-yard passing day by Bengals quarterback Ken Anderson.

(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.)