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Boise State basketball: Mashed on Montezuma Mesa

Viejas Arena has its mojo back, and Boise State didn’t react well Saturday night. No doubt about it, San Diego State looked like a top 10 team.
Credit: Gregory Bull
Boise State's Derrick Alston falls after losing the ball during an NCAA game against San Diego State, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in San Diego. San Diego State won 83-65.

BOISE, Idaho — Monday, January 13, 2020. 

“It’s Good Times In San Diego,” said the front page headline in Saturday morning’s San Diego Union-Tribune, accompanied by a story on excitement returning to Aztecs basketball.  Good times, indeed.  No. 7 San Diego State came out of the gate that evening doing what it does, blitzing Boise State with three-pointers and defending like the dickens.  The Broncos blinked and found themselves down by 14 points just over seven minutes into the game.  The lead reached 24 at the two-minute mark of the first half, and the Aztecs rolled from there in an 83-65 win in wild, sold-out Viejas Arena.  Boise State was in its peak-and-valley mode from three-point range.  This was a valley, as the Broncos went just 1-for-9 in the first half and 6-for-20 for the game. 

As encouraging as Boise State’s win over UNLV last week was, the loss at San Diego State was equally discouraging.  The Broncos got on their heels and turned the ball over 18 times, leading to easy pickins at the other end.  And their top two scorers couldn’t score. Not a recipe for success.  The Aztecs kept Derrick Alston from finding his shot, and he managed only nine points.  Justinian Jessup was just 2-for-12 from the field and 1-for-7 from beyond the arc and scored seven points.  R.J. Williams helped keep it from getting out of hand, though, putting up a gritty 16 points with nine rebounds.

RELATED: How the new Mountain West TV deal affects Boise State and possible conference realignment

BRONCO WOMEN BOFFO OFF THE BENCH 

It was all about defense in the Boise State women’s 54-40 win over Nevada last Wednesday.  The offense took its turn Saturday in the Broncos’ 86-72 throttling of San Diego State Saturday, and it came from unlikely sources.  Boise State got a combined 40 points off the bench from Jade Loville, Ellie Woerner and Rachel Bowers in ExtraMile Arena.  Loville put up a career-high 21 points, 11 of them in the fourth quarter to keep the Aztecs at arm’s length.  Braydey Hodgins was held to six points and Riley Lupfer to five by SDSU, but Hodgins dished out a career-high 10 assists.

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TWO TACKLES TO REMEMBER

When I talked about Kamalei Correa Friday, I said, “It’ll be fun trying to tackle Lamar Jackson.”  Well, the former Boise State star nabbed the presumed NFL MVP twice in Tennessee’s stunning 28-12 upset of Baltimore Saturday night in the AFC divisional playoffs.  It was symbolic of how far Correa has progressed this season, as he got the start at outside linebacker for the Titans.  In the second quarter, Jackson took off on one of his patented scrambles, and Correa took him down after a two-yard gain, stalling a Baltimore drive.  A couple possessions later, the one-time Raven nailed Jackson on a six-yard sack.  Now Correa and the Titans are off to Kansas City for the AFC Championship Game.

ON KELLEN & JAYLON

Two diversified notes on former Boise State quarterbacks (and one ex-Idaho QB, for that matter).  There’s still no official announcement on Kellen Moore staying as Dallas’ offensive coordinator, but ESPN’s Ed Werder reports that “Mike McCarthy is not retaining QB coach Jon Kitna, who contributed to Dak Prescott’s development as an NFL passer.  It appears only Kellen Moore and Doug Nussmeier (former Vandals QB and current Cowboys tight ends coach) are candidates to return to offensive staff.”  The other Boise State product of note is Jaylon Henderson, who was named MVP of the American team in Sunday’s 2020 Spiral Tropical Bowl at Daytona Beach, FL.  (Stats for the game are hard to come by, but Henderson did rush for a touchdown.)

RELATED: Report: Cowboys' Kellen Moore is now deciding between staying in Dallas or going to UW as OC

STEELIES CONQUER THE KOMETS

The Idaho Steelheads will remember their first-ever trip to Fort Wayne fondly.  The Steelheads swept the Komets over the weekend as goaltender Tomas Sholl earned both victories and made a combined 49 saves.  Friday night Sholl got offensive support from Connor Bleakley, who doubled his season goal total with two tallies in a 3-2 victory.  Sholl was staked to a 2-0 first period lead Saturday, and the Steelies cruised to a 4-2 win. 

CAMPUS CRUISE

The College of Idaho men’s basketball team stretched its winning streak to nine games over the weekend with a road sweep of Northwest University and Evergreen State.  Nate Bruneel came through in a big way, turning a three-point play in the final minute at Northwest to help secure a 58-56 win and leading the Yotes with 17 points in a 67-53 triumph at Evergreen.  C of I is now in sole possession of first place in the Cascade Conference.

And the 18th-ranked Boise State women’s gymnastics team fell to fourth-ranked UCLA 196.80-195.475 Sunday in the Broncos’ season-opener.  The Bruins swept all four individual events and the all-around.  The top results for Boise State came from Isabella Amado and Emily Muhlenhaupt, who tied for second on beam at 9.875.  After 12 years as the Broncos’ co-head coach with the now-retired Neil Resnick, Tina Bird made her debut as solo head coach in the Pauley Pavilion event.

THIS DAY IN SPORTS…January 13, 2013:

Former Nevada star Colin Kaepernick, long before taking a controversial knee, produces his ultimate breakout night as a San Francisco 49er, setting an NFL record for rushing in a game by a quarterback in a 45-31 win over the Green Bay Packers in an NFC semifinal playoff tilt.  Kaepernick ran for 181 yards, breaking Michael Vick’s mark of 173 yards set in a regular-season game in 2002.  Kaepernick, who two years earlier had helped the Wolf Pack break Boise State’s 24-game winning streak in a stunning upset in Reno, also threw for 263 yards while accounting for four 49ers touchdowns.

(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.)