Thursday, March 1, 2012.
Unceremoniously on Senior Night, Boise State couldn’t hit the ocean. The Broncos have been through this before, and last night they missed their first 12 three-pointers. You dare not do that against 22nd-ranked San Diego State, and the Aztecs rolled in Taco Bell Arena, 66-53. Worse yet, the Broncos were abysmal at the free throw line, going 11-of-25 after generally prospering from the charity stripe the past three weeks. “If you don’t make ‘em, you have no chance—and when you go 0-for-10 from three (in the first half), you have no chance,” said coach Leon Rice on his KBOI postgame show. Boise State needs to come up for air, but it can’t, as it closes the regular season Saturday against New Mexico at the Pit in Albuquerque.
Boise State’s futility from the field last night threatened a streak that has lasted more than 10 years. There were less than six minutes remaining in the game when Jeff Elorriaga finally nailed a three-pointer, saving the Broncos’ string of 335 straight games with a made three. Derrick Marks added a trey toward the end of the game—and BSU finished 2-of-16. The team that twice scored over 100 points in November has been held under 60 in nine of its 15 games in the new year. Rice’s challenge during Mountain West play has been to play psychologist and try to keep his young team’s spirits up.
Things weren’t any better in Downtown Boise last night, where the Idaho Stampede took it on the chin in a 94-72 loss to the L.A. D-Fenders. It was the Stampede’s lowest point total of the season—they had topped the century mark in nine of their last 10 games. The Stampede were operating without Marcus Banks, who was waived yesterday due to injury. Banks, the eight-year NBA veteran out of UNLV, had been keying a recent surge in Idaho bench scoring, averaging 15½ points in his 10 games with the club. Earlier in the day, the Stamps added forward Jordan Brady and reacquired Willie Jenkins. Brady came off the bench to score 13 point as he became the 25th different player to log minutes for the Stampede this season. Idaho and L.A. play again tonight at CenturyLink Arena.
Kellen Moore, accustomed as he is to delivering 15-second media soundbites, goes long-form today as the keynote speaker for the Kituku & Associates’ 15th anniversary event at the Nampa Civic Center. Moore will speak at both the morning and afternoon sessions in conjunction with the seminar’s theme, “Run: Whether You Are a Lion or a Gazelle.” Which one is Kellen? Maybe he’d be the water buffalo. But he’s one savvy water buffalo.
With the NFL Combine over, attention turns to spring football now at Boise State. The session starts a week from Monday, and coach Chris Petersen will be on Idaho SportsTalk during the 4:00 hour today to discuss that and other things Bronco football. Spring ball started Tuesday for one of Boise State’s Mountain West foes this season, Fresno State, with new coach Tim DeRuyter busily installing his no-huddle spread offense and 3-4 defense. "The big thing that we want to teach is how we play football—playing fast, physical and fanatical," DeRuyter said in the Fresno Bee. "Seeing our guys get to the line of scrimmage, get lined up, communicate quickly and understand what intensity level we're going to play at will be a big thing."
In case this one passed you by, Idaho’s 2012 non-conference schedule has been filled out with a trip to Chapel Hill September 29 to face North Carolina. That comes while Boise State is still looking for a 13th game this season. Maybe there wasn’t a date that matched up. Maybe the impasse remains over home-and-home versus Bronco Stadium only. Whatever. The Vandals have a tough go as they seek a rebound from a 2-10 season. They also have LSU, BYU and Bowling Green on the road, while entertaining Eastern Washington and Wyoming in the Kibbie Dome. The seven-team WAC this year provides for three home games and three on the road, so Idaho will have only five home dates overall in 2012.
Colt Brennan took away Ryan Dinwiddie’s college football record five years ago. Now Brennan looks like he’s taking Dinwiddie’s former job with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League. Brennan, the one-time Hawaii star, has been out of football since being released by the Oakland Raiders over a year ago. But he’s been signed as a backup quarterback in Saskatchewan. Dinwiddie, the former Boise State star, was released by the Roughriders in January after serving as a backup for two seasons. Brennan broke Dinwiddie’s FBS career pass efficiency record in 2007 with a 169.25 rating to Dinwiddie’s 168.9. Also in the CFL, former Idaho State head coach John Zamberlin has been named linebackers coach for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
I mentioned yesterday that individual tickets to the September 25 NHL exhibition game between the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild at CenturyLink Arena could go on sale by the end of the week. Well, today is close enough—the box office opens this morning at 10:00. The game will mark the culmination of the newly-titled Project Filter Dallas Stars Training Camp in Boise. As for the Idaho Steelheads, who will be the Stars’ hosts, their attention is focused on trying to shake an eight-game losing streak when they face the Las Vegas Wranglers tomorrow night.
Former Boise State standout Graham DeLaet tees off in the Honda Classic today at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. I’ve done a little math on what remains on DeLaet’s medical exemption—he has to average more than $28,000 a tournament over his next 21 events to retain his PGA Tour card. But one big week could change that formula drastically. One other note on DeLaet: in his third year on the tour (with one almost wiped out completely by a back injury), he has gone over $1 million in career earnings.
Just six years into its existence, and one season into Mountain West membership, the Boise State swimming program has set an MW record by sending four athletes to the NCAA Championships in two weeks at Auburn. Conference Swimmer of the Year Amber Boucher and fellow senior Stephanie North will make their second trip to the meet, while junior Stevie Hughey and freshman Sydney Johansen join them in representing BSU, which won the Mountain West title last Saturday.
This Day In Sports…March 1, 1972, 40 years ago today:
In the home stretch of his legendary career, L.A. Lakers center Wilt Chamberlain becomes the first NBA player to score 30,000 points. Chamberlain, who holds the NBA single-season scoring record of 50.4 points per game and the single-game mark of 100 (set 50 years ago tomorrow), was more of a defender in his twilight with the Lakers. The transformation worked, as that season saw L.A. set the NBA standard with a 33-game winning streak on the way to a 69-13 record.
(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.)