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Momentum-killers and game-turners

Momentum-killers and game-turners

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant


Posted on February 19, 2013 at 8:26 AM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 19 at 10:14 AM

Tuesday, February 19, 2013.

Missed shots happen.  Missed free throws happen.  But two things that are more controllable in a basketball game are rebounds and turnovers.  Especially the latter.  That’s the biggest letdown coming out of Boise State’s 60-50 loss at New Mexico Saturday night.  The Broncos turned the ball over 17 times, equaling their second-worst performance of the season in that department.  The traveling calls were careless and costly.  At least Boise State spread the wealth, as all seven players who logged more than three minutes in the game were tagged with at least two turnovers apiece (Derrick Marks had four, putting a slight damper on his 17-point night).  Playing hoops in the Mountain West takes discipline, and if you let down your guard—figuratively and literally—you can expect to be on the short end of the ol’ scoreboard.

The loss to New Mexico looked a a lot like the ones in Boise State’s first season in the Mountain West last winter, when scoring dropped off the table.  The 50 points accounted for the Broncos’ second-lowest scoring output this season next to the 45 they put up in the 20-point loss at Utah in December.  Conversely, Boise State held the Lobos to less than 35 percent from the field, by far the Broncos’ best defensive effort in Mountain West play this winter.  Now Air Force comes to town tomorrow night.  The deliberate Falcons would love a 60-50 kind of game.  Of course, they did score 90 on Boise State last month in Colorado Springs.

The Mountain West still has two schools in the Top 25, both on the rise.  New Mexico is 16th in both polls, and Colorado State is 21st in the Coaches Poll and 22nd in AP.  But more telling is the NCAA Men’s Basketball RPI, which places the Lobos at No. 3 and the Rams at No. 13.  The Mountain West still has five teams in the RPI Top 50—UNLV is No. 19, San Diego State is No. 34, and Boise State is No. 42 (actually up two spots from last week).

Boise State football spent the whole weekend on the college football homepage at, via a photo of Blake Renaud leading the Broncos onto the blue turf with the “Hammer.”  It was the lead for a Mark Schlabach column outlining the new makeup of the non-AQ conferences after the latest realignment upheaval.  The headline says “Hammering Home The Point,” but it really wasn’t about Boise State at all.  It was just a nothing-but-the-facts profile of each of the five leagues.  The only Bronco reference: “Boise State's decision to remain in the Mountain West, instead of bolting for the Big East, was a major coup for the league.”  Could a photo of Bronco football have been used merely for bait?  This falls into the “any pub is good pub” category.

Titus Young didn’t even fasten a chinstrap with St. Louis before the Rams cut him loose Friday.  Young’s second chance after being unceremoniously dispatched by the Lions lasted nine days.  Former Boise State teammate Austin Pettis probably didn’t have a chance to sit down with him.  Kellen Moore was on Idaho SportsTalk Friday and didn’t say whether he had a heart-to-heart with Young, but he certainly had perspective on the sorry situation.  “Hopefully he could maybe realize the impact that football can have on his life and how valuable it is,” said Moore.  “There’s a good Titus that I think everyone has seen—and you just hope that Titus can come to the front and be who he is.”  The guy needs help.  Here’s hoping he’ll seek it.

The new College of Idaho football program has had its desired effect, giving in-state players a small college opportunity to move on to college football close to home.  Coyotes coach Mike Moroski has signed his second and third players for the fledgling team that will debut in August of next year, linebacker Jason Byce from Twin Falls High and offensive lineman Andrew Galloway out of Payette High.  And the Statesman reports that Bishop Kelly defensive back Cory Brady will join them today.

Playing in the middle of the night didn’t upset the Idaho Steelheads’ apple cart, as they snapped Las Vegas’ nine-game winning streak early Monday morning in a 3-2 victory.  It’s all Josh Robinson all the time again for the Steelheads, as fellow goalie Tyler Beskorowany was called up by the Texas Stars Saturday.  Robinson was huge down the stretch Saturday night at Ontario, silencing the crowd of 8,766 in a 4-2 Idaho victory.  Then in the midnight special against the Wranglers Robinson did it again.  He faced a staggering 20 shots in the third period as Las Vegas tried to overcome a 3-0 deficit.  Two of them found the net, but none in the frantic final 11½ minutes of the game.

The Steelheads thus wrap up a grueling 12-day stretch that saw them play nine games, winning six.  The Saturday victory cemented a spot in the Kelly Cup Playoffs for Idaho, the earliest clinch in club history.  Defenseman Patrick Cullity, who’s been a yo-yo this season, was again reassigned to the Steelheads by Springfield of the AHL in time for the three weekend games, and that helped.  One Steelie you won’t see again anytime soon is Justin Dowling, who has scored eight goals in 13 games since signing with the AHL’s Texas Stars upon the end of the NHL lockout.  Dowling still leads the Steelheads in points, though, with 46 points in 34 games.

Graham DeLaet left some money on the table at the Northern Trust Open Sunday, but he’s still $66,000 richer for the experience.  DeLaet was flirting with a six-figure payday after three rounds at Riviera Country Club, but he slipped to even-par 72 in the final round to finish tied for 21st.  The former Boise State star’s season winnings are now $223,824 a month and a half into the 2013 PGA Tour schedule.  DeLaet is 66th in the new FedEx Cup standings.

The Idaho Stampede’s Josh Owens made the finals of the D-League Slam Dunk Contest during NBA All-Star weekend festivities Saturday in Houston.  Owens’ feature dunk was a double-pump 360, but Fort Wayne’s Tony Mitchell amassed a record point total in the competition to win it.  The Stamps’ Justin Holiday was a runnerup as well in the 3-Point Contest, edged by Reno’s Marcus Landry 13-11.  Holiday was able to stick around and watch his brother, Philadelphia 76er Jrue Holiday, play for the East in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game.  The Stampede will be back in CenturyLink Arena tomorrow night to host the Springfield Armor.

This Day In Sports…February 19, 2010:

Tiger Woods holds one of the most-watched sports press conferences in television history.  Although it wasn’t really a press conference—it was a 13½-minute statement apologizing for as many as a dozen affairs revealed after a Thanksgiving night incident that had Woods leaving his Florida home and crashing his SUV down the street, with wife Elin not far behind to presumably lend assistance.  A wide array of sponsors subsequently dropped him, and he went into rehabilitation for sexual addiction. 

(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.)