Monday, March 4, 2013.
Win No. 20, a 78-65 triumph over Colorado State, came in grand fashion Saturday night—before a sellout crowd, in the first hoops black-out, against a top 25 team (in RPI terms), and featuring one of the great individual performances in Boise State history. And we’re not even talking about rebounding, as the Broncos out-boarded the national leader in rebound margin. UNLV is the only other team to top the Rams on the glass in 29 games this season. No, the centerpiece of this memorable win was, of course, Derrick Marks and his 38 points. He had an astounding 33 of them in the second half. Marks was as unstoppable as any Bronco has ever been. UNLV is devouring tape of Marks as we speak for tomorrow night’s clash in the Thomas & Mack Center.
It was just like we thought: Marks was layin’ in the weeds until the stars aligned for him to go off again. In his previous three games, Marks had scored just 22 points combined. Yet nobody doubted the effect he had in the wins over Air Force, Fresno State and Nevada. Marks was dishing off in those contests—24 assists combined—and was playing a great floor game. He had three assists against Colorado State, but down the stretch his teammates were like, “What are you giving me the ball for?!”
You've probably heard that Marks’ 38 points was the fifth-best total ever at Boise State. Here are some details on that accomplishment. The all-time Bronco record, 42 points, has stood for 42 years. Ron Austin did it against Montana in 1971. Austin is also on the top five list with games of 41 and 38 points (the latter now tied with Marks for fifth). No wonder he was a charter member of the BSU Athletic Hall of Fame. Marks came tantalizingly close to the first 40-point game for the Broncos in 34 years. Carl Powell scored 40 points on 20 field goals against Idaho State in 1979, many of them long-range ones before the days of the three-point line. Marks’ big night does go down as the best at Boise State in 20 years, since school career scoring leader Tanoka Beard put up 39 in 1993 against Eastern Washington. And Marks is only a sophomore.
So what does the franchise tag placed on him by the Denver Broncos mean for Ryan Clady, Peyton Manning’s personal protector in the blind side? It almost guarantees the former Boise State star won’t be out on the free agent market that begins next week. Other NFL teams could still go after Clady, but the Broncos would have the right to match any offer—and, if they didn’t choose to match, would receive two first-round draft picks as compensation. Either way, Clady has it pretty good. His new $9.828 million salary in 2013 represents a 280 percent raise from last year. Including postseason games, the All-Pro left tackle has started all 83 games of his NFL career. He’s currently rehabbing a torn rotator cuff he suffered in the playoffs in January.
Yes, the NFL Combine was big for former Boise State cornerback Jamar Taylor. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com has moved him up his board—all the way to the first round, where Taylor is projected by Jeremiah to go as the No. 31 overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers. “Taylor is one of my favorite players to watch on tape,” writes Jeremiah. “He is physical, fast and possesses good ball skills. This might be a little earlier than expected, but his style of play fits perfectly with the 49ers' defense.”
After a forgettable Saturday, Graham DeLaet looked like he had sufficiently rallied in the final round of the Honda Classic. Then came the 14th and 15th holes. DeLaet was just four shots off the lead at that point, but then he double-bogeyed both holes. They call Nos. 15-17 the “Bear Trap” at the PGA National course, and the former Boise State star fell in it and came in at two-over 72 for the day (DeLaet had opened Thursday with a five-under 65 but was three-over in Saturday’s third round). Still, the 31-year-old Canadian finished in a tie for ninth and won a tidy $156,000. DeLaet now has more than $375,000 in winnings on the still-young season.
Welcome back Austin Smith, do you think? Smith, who returned to the Idaho Steelheads from Texas of the AHL last Tuesday, made his mark over the weekend in two wins over Utah. Smith scored twice and added two assists in Friday night’s 6-0 blowout, then tallied again Saturday night and contributed a score in the shootout as the Steelheads won, 4-3. The shootout tally was significant, as Idaho had gone 24 straight individual shootout attempts without a score before Smith, Ben Ondrus and Tyler Gron finally broke the spell. Smith now has 22 goals in 26 games as a Steelie. Saturday’s game also marked the return of goalie Tyler Beskorowany, who was re-assigned to the Steelheads Friday by Texas of the AHL, Beskorowany got the win, making 23 saves (cohort Josh Robinson notched his third shutout of the season in Friday night’s win).
As scripted, Borah and Rocky Mountain met in the state 5A boys basketball state championship game Saturday night at the Idaho Center. It was the fourth intense meeting between the schools this season, and it fittingly went to the wire, with the Lions taking their second straight title, 47-44. In 2A, New Plymouth fell to Grangeville 47-32. The Pilgrims made it to the final after a stunning finish Friday night at Capital High, a game I attended on a whim (and I’m glad I did). New Plymouth had trailed Firth the entire game but pulled to within three points on a free throw with 2.7 seconds left. The Pilgrims missed the next free throw on purpose and were able to tap the ball outside to Hunter Wells, who made a three-pointer at the buzzer. New Plymouth won in overtime, 53-48.
Never mind that it came against the D-League’s worst team. The Idaho Stampede snapped a six-game losing streak, and they will take it. The Stampede pulled away from the Iowa Energy 115-107 yesterday behind 33 points and 11 rebounds from red-shot Justin Holiday. The former Washington Husky is averaging 28½ points in his last four outings and has topped his season-high in scoring in three of his last four games. Holiday also collected six steals and now leads the D-League in that category. One of the other bright spots of the weekend: the season-high 15 rebounds by former Boise State standout Jason Ellis Saturday night in a loss at Fort Wayne. Ellis added 11 boards yesterday and scored 14 points. The Stampede play at Sioux Falls tomorrow night.
Considering their start this season, a second-place finish at the Pac-12 Championships is a plus for the Boise State wrestling team. The Broncos were runnersup to Oregon State but took three individual conference titles: Jason Chamberlain at 149 pounds, George Ivanov at 157, and Jake Swartz at 184. Ivanov was named the meet’s Most Outstanding Wrestler. The three Boise State champs will be joined by second-place finishers Brian Owen and J.T. Felix at the NCAA Championships March 21-23 in Des Moines, IA.
Elsewhere, the Boise State men’s tennis team got back on track Saturday with wins over Utah and Gonzaga. The victory over the Utes was a big one, according to coach Greg Patton, who said it is “a rivalry on the magnitude of Utah being the Joker to our Batman.” The Bronco women’s gymnastics team put up its highest score of the season and eighth-best in school history, a 196.575 in Friday’s Senior Night win over Southern Utah. And how about Mountain View high grad Hillary Holt, winning the 3,000 meters and the mile and running a leg of the victorious medley relay for the College of Idaho at the NAIA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
This Day In Sports…March 4, 2008, five years ago today:
Legendary Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre announces his retirement after 17 NFL seasons. Seriously. Favre had just completed one of his best seasons in a career that included two Super Bowls and NFL records for passing yards, touchdown passes, wins and consecutive starts. Favre, of course, would reneg and play one final season with the New York Jets in 2008. And then he’d reneg again and play two more final seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. Former Boise State star Korey Hall had started at fullback in his rookie season alongside Favre, and BSU alum Daryn Colledge was a Packers offensive line starter during Favre’s final two campaigns in Green Bay.
(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.)