BOISE, Idaho — Thursday, February 6, 2020.
Somebody said in the past week that Justinian Jessup isn’t getting enough props for breaking the Mountain West career record for three-pointers. That’s probably because he doesn’t have the flamboyance of the guy he succeeded. But to eclipse BYU’s Jimmer Fredette, who seemed to launch at will from every corner of the court, is sayin’ something. There’s this: it took Fredette 752 attempts to reach 296 made threes. It took Jessup 730. He’s shooting 39 percent from beyond the arc this season and 41 percent for his career. But here’s the stat that shows you Jessup is a steely senior: he’s shooting 93.9 percent from the free throw line this season, which would rank third in the country if he had enough attempts. Icewater in the veins will be a requirement for a certain game in Logan Saturday.
DÉJÀ VU FOR DERRICK
Boise State doesn’t have much of a chance at Utah State Saturday night if Derrick Alston doesn’t have at least a decent game. Alston did not at Wyoming, and the Broncos were fortunate to survive. Alston, who had only four points in the first meeting with the Cowboys on New Year’s Day, didn’t score Tuesday until a pair of free throws 2½ minutes into the second half. And then, unbelievably, he didn’t score again. In two games against Wyoming this season, Alston is 1-for-17 from the field and 0-for-10 from three-point range. The odds of him having two games in a row like the one Tuesday are slim and none. Alston is still averaging 19.0 points per game, second in the Mountain West. He’s also been named one of 10 finalists for the 2020 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award.
ALL ARE ABOARD WHO WERE COMIN’ ABOARD
Between early signing day and Wednesday’s official National Letter of Intent Day, Boise State football landed five known commitments in addition to the 15 inked in December, and all five are now part of the program. The only pins-and-needles guy was quarterback Cade Fennegan from Dallas, whose Twitter account indicated Tuesday that he had received an offer from USC. Fennegan is now a Bronco, although his dad indicated to the Idaho Press that the door is still cracked open for the Trojans. But coach Bryan Harsin is confident Fennegan will join the Broncos in May after LDS mission in Argentina. Harsin acknowledged Wednesday that the Broncos will still be looking for an additional quarterback with one of the five scholarships he still has in his pocket—probably out of the transfer market.
BROCK MILLER COMES FULL CIRCLE
Linebacker Brock Miller was recruited by Boise State out of high school in Florida four years ago. Now he is a certified Bronco. “I wanted to get out of Florida, but I wasn’t mature enough to go all the way across the country,” Miller said Wednesday on Idaho SportsTalk. “It was a pretty easy transition now, since I already had that relationship with Harsin.” Miller, a grad transfer, started 11 games at North Carolina State last season and made 40 tackles, including seven for loss and one sack. In 2016, he was rated the No. 66 outside linebacker prospect in nthe country and the No. 9 prospect in Florida. “Boise State wins a lot—that really appeals to me,” Miller added.
BRADFORD’S ELIGIBILITY CLOCK PAUSED
One of Boise State’s December signees, safety Isaiah Bradford, will apparently grayshirt and won’t count against the Broncos’ current scholarship total. Bradford, an early commit and the cousin of former Boise State star Alexander Mattison, was one of the top 100 recruits in California in this class, but he tore his ACL in the third week of his senior season and missed the rest of the year. Perhaps that’s a factor. Bradford would theoretically enroll next January and would officially be a true freshman in 2021.
HAPPY 21ST, MR. CORD
Scott Slant sleuths have discovered that today is Chase Cord’s 21st birthday. We’ve made it through National Letter of Intent Day, and Cord hasn’t transferred yet. Many in his position would, but he appears committed to the program he signed with three years back. Cord was seen with his right arm and/or shoulder in a sling last Saturday night when he was honored at halftime of the Boise State-Nevada basketball game with scores of other academic achievers in Broncos athletics. He goes into his junior year knowing he won’t be 100 percent this spring in order to compete with Hank Bachmeier. One man’s opinion: this is a mature 21-year-old.
MERRITT ON THE MONTEREY PENINSULA
Fifty years ago it was affectionately called the “Crosby Clambake,” formally known as the Bing Crosby National Pro-Am. Today it’s the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, still one of the classic events on the PGA Tour, and Troy Merritt is in the field. The former Boise State star and Meridian resident tees off this morning at Spyglass Hill. Merritt’s last round of golf was forgettable. On the second day of the Waste Management Phoenix Open last Friday, he was beset by six bogeys and shot a four-over 75. He’s made one cut in three events in the new year.
The loss at Wyoming for the Boise State women on New Year’s Day had staying power—not in a good way. The Broncos got vindication Wednesday night, dominating the Cowgirls 67-48 in ExtraMile Arena. Maybe Boise State will be able to look back on this as the night it got back down to business. It was vintage Riley Lupfer, as the senior led the Broncos with 18 points on 7-for-9 shooting, including a trio of three-pointers. The defense really came alive, forcing a demoralizing 24 Wyoming turnovers. Not only did Boise State’s Jayde Christopher dish out her usual seven assists, she made six steals. The Broncos are now 16-8 overall and 8-4 in the Mountain West.
YOTES RUN IT TO 17
It seems to be somebody different every night out leading the charge during College of Idaho’s historic winning streak. Tuesday night former Mountain View High standout Jalen Galloway took his turn, scoring a season-high 22 points as the Coyotes won 89-79 at Eastern Oregon, their 17th victory in a row. Galloway went 9-for-12 from the field and popped in four three-pointers. The Yotes made the pollsters look good—earlier in the day they moved up to No. 2 in the NAIA Division II Coaches Poll.
THIS DAY IN SPORTS…February 6, 2005, 15 years ago today:
The New England Patriots win their third Super Bowl in four years with a 24-21 victory over Philadelphia. The Eagles pulled to within three on a Donovan McNabb-to-Greg Lewis touchdown pass with 1:48 left—then got the ball back at their own four-yard-line with 46 seconds left. But the Patriots put it away with Rodney Harrison’s second interception of the game. Quintin Mikell became only the third Boise State alumnus to appear in a Super Bowl, playing special teams and goal line defense for Philly.
(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.)