Thursday, February 13, 2014.
Boise State’s angst had gone exponential after allowing leads of 11 and 14 points in the second half to slide away in losses to UNLV and San Diego State. Last night the Broncos played from behind for most of the night against New Mexico, and it was the Lobos who saw an 11-point second-half advantage disappear. Boise State finally finished, beating New Mexico for the first time, 71-70, when Derrick Marks hit two free throws with 13 seconds left. A passive Bronco bunch turned aggressive after the intermission—at both ends of the floor—and rallied behind four three-pointers by Thomas Bropleh, who scored 14 points. What an adventure for Bropleh. After each three, he’d go down to the other end and guard one of the Lobos’ aircraft carriers, Alex Kirk and Cameron Bairstow.
So how does a game that looked so one-sided for 25 minutes turn out this way? How does Boise State get outshot from the field 51 percent to 40—with Marks going 1-for-9—and still win? Start with rebounding. Ryan Watkins got his edge back, recording another double-double with 12 points and 11 boards. He had to battle Kirk and Bairstow all night and yielded only one offensive rebound between the two. The Broncos had a 35-25 margin on the glass (22-9 in the second half). They pulled down 12 offensive boards, with the resulting second chances allowing them to take 58 shots to New Mexico’s 43.
The Aussie Bowl was interesting last night. Bairstow was a beast with 20 points (though he did have only five rebounds). And he schooled countryman Nick Duncan a couple times. But then there was the matchup between close friends and rivals Hugh Greenwood and Anthony Drmic, who roomed together while playing for Australia in international competition. Greenwood had scored 20 points with five three-pointers in New Mexico’s win over Boise State last month and had shot 54 percent from the floor and 56½ percent from three-point land in five games against the Broncos. In those same five games, all losses, Drmic posted shooting percentages of 31 percent overall and 21 from beyond the arc. In Game 6, it was Drmic 18 points, Greenwood 4. And it was Drmic who defended on Greenwood’s final miss at the buzzer.
Let me be the first (I think) to strongly suggest that the halfpipe venue at Sun Valley should be renamed “Kaitlyn’s Krib.” Kaitlyn Farrington, who grew up on a ranch near Bellevue and cut her snowboarding teeth at Sun Valley, won the gold medal in the women’s halfpipe yesterday at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Farrington’s second run will be long remembered, including a 900 spin and corked backflip. She didn’t fall, and her score of 91.75 edged defending gold medalist Torah Bright of Australia. Farrington also bested former gold medalists Kelly Clark and Hannah Teter. Farrington’s win takes a little sting out of the stumbles by Shaun White on the men’s side the night before.
This is the first Winter Olympics gold medal for an Idahoan since Picabo Street took the super G in Nagano in 1998. The only other gold medalists with Idaho ties were Boise’s Bill Johnson in the downhill in 1984 and Sun Valley’s Gretchen Fraser in the women’s slalom in 1948. Safe to say Farrington was an upset winner. She was almost on the outside looking in before becoming the final competitor named to the U.S. snowboarding team at the last qualifying event in mid-January at Mammoth Mountain, CA. Then Farrington had to get through qualifying in Sochi to make the field of 12 in the finals. As she wound her way through the semifinals, she started to believe she could medal. “Now to leave as a gold medalist, I'm just beside myself about it,” Farrington said.
Elsewhere at the Winter Games, Sun Valley’s Hilary Knight gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead in its tense women’s hockey matchup with rival Canada yesterday. But the Canadians roared back with three goals in the third period to edge the Americans, 3-2. Many think the two teams remain on a collision course for the gold medal game next week. Knight has scored a goal in each of the USA’s first three games in the tournament.
Bakersfield goalie Laurent Brossoit has a thing about playing the Idaho Steelheads. Brossoit was nails between the pipes again last night, making 32 saves to lead the Condors to a 2-1 victory and snap the Steelheads’ four-game winning streak in CenturyLink Arena. He’s now 4-1 against Idaho this season with two shutouts. The only Steelie to crack Brossoit was Brett Robinson, who tallied early in the second period. Bakersfield was helped by its ECHL-leading penalty kill unit, erasing all five of Idaho’s power plays. The Steelheads get two more shots at Brossoit this weekend.
Boise State’s Jay Ajayi was honored as a 2014 Player To Watch at the Touchdown Club of Columbus awards banquet last Saturday. Ajayi was a well-prepared ambassador for the Bronco program at the podium when he accepted his award. “We have a new staff at Boise State, and with all the excitement and energy that this coaching staff has brough it, I strongly believe that 2014 will be a great year for the Boise State Broncos football team,” Ajayi said. He concluded his brief speech with, “Go Broncos—ATF.” Bryan Harsin’s “Attack The Future” theme has unquestionably caught on.
Graham DeLaet is back in action today at the Northern Trust Open on the famed Riviera Country Club course in Pacific Palisades, CA. DeLaet hopes to keep rolling in what has been an outstanding 2013-14 season so far. The former Boise State star’s last five starts have all been top 10s. The Web.com Tour season tees off today in Bogota, Colombia, with the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship. Nampa’s Tyler Aldridge and Meridian’s Joe Panzeri are listed as alternates in the field. Panzeri is transitioning this year from PGA Tour Canada to the Web.com circuit.
The Idaho Stampede head into the NBA All-Star break with two consecutive two-point losses after last night’s 114-112 road defeat at the hands of the L.A. D-Fenders. The Stampede had to rally from a nine-point deficit with seven minutes left in the game and had a chance to tie at the end, but EJ Singler’s jumper with two seconds remaining was off the mark. Kevin Murphy led the Stampede with 28 points, while Pierre Jackson had a different role in this one—15 points and 11 assists.
This Day In Sports…February 13, 1954, 60 years ago today:
On his way to establishing the college basketball records for points in a season and a career, Furman sharpshooter Frank Selvy sinks 41 field goals and 18 free throws to score 100 points in a 149-95 shellacking of Newberry, shattering the NCAA single-game record of 73. Rio Grande's Clarence "Bevo" Francis would score 113 against Hillsdale College the same season. Those were the top two totals in history until Grinnell College’s Jack Taylor poured in an unimaginable 138 points against Faith Baptist Bible in November, 2012.
(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.)