Wednesday, January 15, 2014.
Nevada started the game on a 7-0 run. Boise State answered with a 15-0 run. The Wolf Pack wrapped a 12-0 run around halftime. The Broncos had a 10-0 run midway through the second half that was the most important of all—they got separation, and they maintained for a 74-65 win in Reno. A game that was tied 42-42 with 10½ minutes left morphed into a 69-51 lead with two minutes to go, and Boise State coasted from there. The Broncos had to dig deep for this one with their confidence shaken after the poor performance versus Wyoming, especially coming as it did over a Wolf Pack team that had started 4-0 in the Mountain West. They got their three-point stroke back, making nine shots from beyond the arc. The beleaguered Jeff Elorriaga only hit only 1-of-5, but the one was a dagger with just under four minutes left that put Boise State up by 12.
Derrick Marks, Boise State’s yo-yo, spun his tricks again after the six-point struggle against the Cowboys, scoring 21 points and going 7-for-7 from the free throw line. Just as key was Marks’ defensive assignment against reigning Mountain West Player of the Week Deonte Burton much of the night. Burton, the conference’s leading scorer, was held to 1-for-8 shooting from the field and a season-low seven points. His previous low this season had been 16. Marks also collected eight rebounds. Coach Leon Rice thought Marks and his cohorts changed Burton’s focus off the bat. “We took a charge on him early, and that kept him on the perimeter the rest of the game,” said Rice on his KBOI postgame show.
Nevada presented its imposing interior lineup of 6-9 A.J. West, 6-8 Cole Huff and 6-8 Jerry Evans Jr. Boise State countered with a lot of Nick Duncan next to Ryan Watkins. Duncan, the Australian true freshman, hit double figures for only the second time—the other was against Simpson. Duncan scored 10 points and pulled down five rebounds to complement Watkins’ sixth double-double of the season (11 and 11). The Broncos out-rebounded the Wolf Pack by 10. And Anthony Drmic can’t go without mention. Drmic moved into ninth place on Boise State’s career scoring list with 17 points, connecting on all three of his three-point attempts. Next up for the Broncos is a reunion with Utah State Saturday night in Taco Bell Arena.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that Boise State quarterback Nick Patti has been granted his “full scholarship release and will be looking to transfer for the spring semester.” Patti’s father, Ed, confirmed the release to the Sentinel but wouldn’t comment further. Boise State, while acknowledging that he probably won’t be playing for the Broncos again, said that Patti has been only granted a partial release and has permission to talk to only Central Florida. The Sentinel speculates that Fiesta Bowl champion Knights are interested in Patti with the loss of QB Blake Bortles, who is bypassing his senior year for the NFL Draft.
It’s clear that Grant Hedrick is considered the Broncos’ starter for 2014, and after the murky circumstances surrounding Joe Southwick’s expulsion from the Hawaii Bowl trip, a controversy that involved Patti, maybe this is just as well. Patti arrived with much acclaim, having graduated from high school in Orlando early in order to enroll at Boise State and participate in spring football in 2012. Fans were intrigued by him and roared their approval when he hit Troy Ware with a 35-yard touchdown pass in the Spring Game. But Patti was unable to leapfrog Hedrick and Southwick his first two years in the program. He was 8-of-11 for 63 yards and rushed for 19 yards as a redshirt freshman.
The re-build of Boise State’s 2014 recruiting class continues, as Scout.com reports defensive tackle Dereck Boles of Lakeland, FL, has committed to the Broncos. Boles, a 6-2, 270-pounder who was a second-team All-State selection in Florida’s Class 7A, the state’s second-largest division, confirmed his decision via Twitter. Scout.com says Boles will make his official visit to Boise this weekend.
Now that Jim Caldwell has been named head coach of the Detroit Lions, what’s in store for Kellen Moore? The former Boise State great just finished his second season as No. 3 quarterback for Detroit. Scott Linehan will not be retained as offensive coordinator and will be replaced by Philadelphia quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor, an aficionado of the West Coast offense (which would suit Kellen). Caldwell himself has a successful history of working with quarterbacks. He was QB coach for Joe Paterno at Penn State and spent eight years in the same role with the Indianapolis Colts, working with Peyton Manning. Caldwell is coming in with a plan for the Lions’ Matthew Stafford, and Moore could probably learn a lot. But at some point it’ll be on to coaching, and don’t think for a moment guys like Chris Petersen and Bryan Harsin aren’t tracking their old pupil.
The Idaho Steelheads haven’t been on home ice since three days before Christmas, but they have two dates in CenturyLink Arena against Utah tonight and Friday night. The Steelheads won four of seven games during the road stretch that ended in Colorado last weekend. Goalie Pat Nagle started all seven of them as Josh Robinson continues his backup role with Texas of the AHL. Nagle has compiled a 2.57 goals-against average since Robinson’s latest callup. Idaho is hanging around in a lot of games due to its special teams prowess. In their last six games, the Steelies are 22-for-24 on the penalty kill.
Sporting News is always good for a list or two. Yesterday it came out with the “MLB’s best active players from every state in the USA.” From Idaho, SN chose Matt Lindstrom of Rexburg. Writes SN: “The right-handed reliever has been with six teams since 2009, but seems to have settled in nicely with the White Sox, for whom he posted a 3.12 ERA in 76 appearances last year.” Lindstrom, who turns 33 next month, played junior college ball in his hometown at Ricks College (before it became BYU-Idaho). He has a 15-19 record over seven big league seasons with a serviceable ERA of 3.56. Borah High grad Stephen Fife had to be a close second—there aren’t many other Idahoans out there.
As the Idaho Stampede prepare for Saturday night’s game against Santa Cruz, the team with which they are tied atop the D-League West Division standings, let’s get an update on the Stampede’s lone NBA assignee this season. C.J. McCollum, the Blazers’ lottery pick out of Lehigh last June, was sent to Boise the first weekend of the month to get in game shape after rehabbing a broken foot and scored a combined 37 points in 41 minutes in two Stampede games. McCollum promptly returned to Portland and made his NBA debut a week ago, scoring four points in 14 minutes in a win over Orlando at the Moda Center. He played 14 minutes again last Saturday had his first double-figure game with 10 points in a home victory against the Celtics. The Blazers host Cleveland tonight.
This Day In Sports…January 15, 1979:
The birthday of one of the NFL’s premiere quarterbacks. Drew Brees was drafted out of Purdue with the first pick in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft by San Diego. Despite five productive seasons from Brees, the Chargers let him depart as a free agent after the 2005 season in favor of Philip Rivers. Brees signed with New Orleans and took his career to another level, leading the Saints to the Super Bowl XLIV title. Drew Brees…35 years old today.
(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.)