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Boise State basketball: Jessup isn’t wired to be bitter

The Boise State men open the Mountain West Tournament against UNLV Thursday afternoon. Will one Bronco be particularly inspired?
Credit: Marco Garcia
Boise State's Justinian Jessup chases down the ball against Georgia Tech during the Diamond Head Classic Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Honolulu. Georgia Tech won 74-60.

BOISE, Idaho — Wednesday, March 4, 2020.

The media awards weren’t official on Monday.  The All-Mountain West honors released Tuesday by the conference were, based on coaches’ votes.  And unlike the media, the coaches placed Boise State’s Justinian Jessup on the second team.  Jessup’s steely, reserved personality doesn’t seem like one that would go all “vindication mode” in the Mountain West Tournament Thursday.  But a lot of fans wouldn’t blame him.  Jessup put a dent, win or lose, in every conference team he faced this winter.  Since mid-January, he’s made at least two three-pointers in every game, and his Mountain West record for career three-pointers certainly should be worth some body-of-work consideration for the first team.  Will there be at least a bit of a chip on the shoulder Thursday against UNLV?

Boise State’s Derrick Alston is also second-team All-Mountain West.  The Broncos will need Alston to play like a first-teamer Thursday if they’re to get by the Rebels and into the MW semifinals.  I talked Monday about the hope that Alston returns for his senior year, and here’s more supporting data.  The stretch run hasn’t been kind.  Alston hasn’t hit the 20-point mark in the past seven games, averaging just 10.6 points and shooting 28 percent from the field.  He averaged 21.4 points per game in non-conference play.  Alston is a great player and a leader and needs to summon those qualities for Boise State’s most important game—or games—of the season.

THE FOUR-PEAT IS STILL POSSIBLE

An explosive second quarter gave the Boise State women separation from Wyoming Tuesday night, and the Broncos maintained it in a 79-71 victory to advance to tonight’s Mountain West Tournament championship game.  Senior A’Shanti Coleman continued her remarkable late-season run, scoring 20 points for the fifth game in a row.  Coleman recorded a double-double for good measure, pulling down 12 rebounds.  Jayde Christopher contributed a rare rebounds-assists double-double, with 10 boards and 10 helpers. Boise State busted off a 14-0 run in the second quarter that put the Cowgirls on the ropes.

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Boise State now faces top-seeded Fresno State in a quest for an unprecedented fourth straight Mountain West Tournament championship.  The teams played only once this season, with the Bulldogs stunning the Broncos with a 35-point fourth quarter to win 85-80 on January 25.  Boise State had led by 17 points at one time in that one.  It’s the poster game for the fourth-quarter woes that the Broncos appear to have put behind them.

PINCKNEY AND BRUNEEL MAKE IT A DONE DEAL

No. 8 Oregon Tech gave No. 1 College of Idaho everything it wanted last night.  But the Coyotes stand as Cascade Conference Tournament champions for the third straight year after a tooth-and-nails 82-77 victory over the Owls in Caldwell.  The Yotes shot only 42 percent from the field, but a 12-for-24 performance from three-point range was the difference.  The Treasure Valley duo of Talon Pinckney and Nate Bruneel put up 23 and 17 points, respectively—Pinckney nailed a crucial trey with 29 seconds left.  The win was C of I’s 30th of the season and 24th in a row.  The NAIA Division II Championships bracket will be announced later today.  The Yotes expect to be the top overall seed.

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BACHMEIER REMINDERS

As Boise State spring football dawns around sunset Friday night on the blue turf, quarterback Hank Bachmeier will be in the spotlight—and under the microscope.  Bachmeier’s true freshman season ended on a flat note, as he threw for just 119 yards and threw two interceptions in the Broncos’ 38-7 thrashing at the hands of Washington in the Las Vegas Bowl.  But it’s important to remember what kind of QB Boise State brought in from Murrieta Valley High in Southern California.  Bachmeier threw for 13,150 yards in his four years—plus 156 touchdown passes, breaking the CIF Southern Section record held by current USC quarterback JT Daniels.  Bachmeier was the No. 6 pro-style quarterback in the 2019 recruiting class according to 247Sports.  He’s still that guy. 

DJP TO THE CFL 

If you watched Darius-James Peterson play quarterback for College of Idaho the last four years, you know he has a CFL-type skill set.  Now Peterson will get his shot, as he’s been signed by the Montreal Alouettes.  DJP holds C of I career records with 3,413 rushing yards and 6,906 passing yards.  As a senior, Peterson threw for 2,423 yards and 21 touchdowns and rushed for 724 yards and four TDs while leading the Yotes to the NAIA national quarterfinals and an 11-1 record. 

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STEELIES HOPE TO STING THE ‘RAYS 

If the Idaho Steelheads are going to make a deep run in the playoffs, this week’s series in CenturyLink Arena may serve as a preview.  The South Carolina Stingrays are in town with the ECHL’s best record, 43-11-4.  The Steelheads have some momentum going between the pipes, though, as Colton Point has earned his first ECHL Goaltender of the Week honor after recording his first pro shutout last weekend.  That kind of honor is old hat to Idaho starter Tomas Sholl.  This is the first meeting in Boise between these teams since the Steelheads’ inaugural ECHL season in 2003-04, when the Stingrays won back-to-back games.  That was not an omen, though, as the Steelies went on to win the Kelly Cup championship. 

NNU’S ALBRECHT TOPS IN THE GNAC 

Northwest Nazarene’s Avery Albrecht, a fourth-year player and third-year starter for the Nighthawks women, has been named Great Northwest Athletic Conference Player of the Year.  Albrecht is averaging a career-high 15.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game this season.  The LaGrande High School grad has NNU headed for what is likely its third straight berth in the NCAA Division II Tournament.  The Nighthawks will be the No. 2 seed at the GNAC tournament in Seattle this week, with a bye into Friday night’s semifinals.

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THIS DAY IN SPORTS…March 4, 1990, 30 years ago today: 

In the West Coast Conference Tournament, Loyola-Marymount forward Hank Gathers slams home a dunk in a semi-final game against the University of Portland.  As he ran back to the defensive end, Gathers high-fived a teammate—then slowed, staggered and collapsed.  Suffering from arrhythmia, an irregular heartbeat, he couldn’t be revived and died at the age of 23.  Gathers had led the NCAA the season before in both scoring and rebounding.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK.  He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.) 

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