BOISE, Idaho — Thursday, January 30, 2020.
It became a game of record book research Wednesday night as Boise State pelted San Jose State 99-71 in ExtraMile Arena. The Broncos just missed posting the first back-to-back 30-point conference wins in school history. They also just missed their fourth 100-point game of the season. And Justinian Jessup’s countdown to the Mountain West three-point record got serious. Jessup canned five treys, leaving him just two short of Jimmer Fredette’s league record. Boise State didn’t miss much when aiming at the hoop. The Broncos shot 59 percent from the field and 58 percent from beyond the arc. The laser ball movement they displayed at Fresno State was there again. “The bye (last week) came at a great time, and we worked on that—that was our focus,” said coach Leon Rice on the KBOI postgame show.
Individually, this one started with Boise State’s two best players. While Jessup was putting up 21 points, Derrick Alston was pouring in 27, equaling a career-high with six three-pointers. Put those two guys together, and you get a deadly combination: 16-for-26 from the field and 11-for-17 from distance. Not to forget RJ Williams, who double-doubled again with 15 points and 13 rebounds. And not to forget the beginning of the game, when both teams honored Kobe Bryant. No. 24 Abu Kigab intentionally turned the ball over on the Broncos’ first possession by stepping out of bounds with 24 seconds left on the shot clock. Now it’s on to the Nevada game Saturday night. The Wolf Pack is smarting after falling 92-91 on a buzzer-beater Wednesday night at Colorado State.
WEAVER ON WASHINGTON
Boise State’s inimitable Curtis Weaver will be featured on the State Farm All-Star Football Challenge at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, Friday night on ESPN2. Weaver will try to strike a note for the Group of 5 with three other players on the “Wild Card” team. The Mountain West career sacks leader was on Idaho SportsTalk Wednesday and said he already misses his Broncos teammates, but it’s all business now, three months from the NFL Draft. As for the last game of his college career, Weaver had an interesting observation on Boise State’s 38-7 loss to Washington in the Las Vegas Bowl. He’s run into Huskies running back Salvon Ahmed at pre-draft activities. “(Ahmed) said their energy was unmatched—the whole Coach Pete thing,” Weaver said. “We didn’t have the energy to match it, and they hit us right in our mouth.”
John Molchon had a different kind of break from draft training this week. Molchon wore No. 77 at Boise State while starting 42 games as an offensive lineman and earning first-team All-Mountain West honors as a junior and senior. At Faith Lutheran High in Las Vegas, Molchon wore No. 72, and the school retired that jersey in a ceremony on Monday. Molchon was a two-time Nevada All-State selection and was named the 1-A lineman of the year in 2013.
THE NEW SDSU STADIUM WILL HAPPEN
Boise State next plays at San Diego State in 2021. That may or not be the last season for the stadium formerly known as Qualcomm, but the good news is a new facility is on the way. The university has secured the California State University board’s approval of a deal to purchase the city of San Diego’s Mission Valley stadium site, allocating an initial $350 million for the project. The goal is to wrap up the deal quickly so SDSU can construct a new 35,000-seat stadium in time for the 2022 season. But the closing date they’ve targeted, March 27, is seen as too ambitious—2023, anyone?
HOPING FOR THE BEST ON DELAET’S BACK
No update on Graham DeLaet’s troublesome back, which forced him to withdraw from the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines last week. The former Boise State star is not in the field today for one of his favorite tournaments, the Waste Management Open in Phoenix. Fingers are crossed that it’s not a setback, just three months after he returned to the PGA Tour following two years on the shelf. Troy Merritt is back on the course today after taking last week off. Last time out, Merritt had one of those unfortunate Sundays in the final round of The American Express in La Quinta, CA. He finished the event with a two-over 74 after carding a double-bogey and two bogeys over the final four holes.
HUTCH HITS A NEW HIGH
This is the kind of game the Chicago Bulls expected when they drafted Boise State’s Chandler Hutchison in the first round in 2018. Hutchison may have gone 0-for-3 from three-point range Wednesday night, but he was 10-for-11 from inside the arc to score a career-high 21 points in the Bulls’ 115-106 overtime road loss to the Indiana Pacers. Hutchison also played a season-high 28 minutes in the game. It’s taken a long time for him to hit his stride. It was just over a year ago that Hutchison’s rookie season ended with a fracture in his right foot.
BRONCO WOMEN STUCK IN A RUT
This time the fourth quarter wasn’t the problem for the Boise State women. They already trailed by 12 points at the end of the third before falling 74-61 at San Jose State Wednesday night. The Broncos shot a season-low 34 percent from the field and 22 percent from three-point land for the game as the Spartans held Boise State post and leading scorer Mallory McGwire to four points on 2-for-11 shooting. It’s a confounding thing for the preseason Mountain West favorites and defending conference champions. Boise State is now 6-4 in league play.
THIS DAY IN SPORTS…January 30, 2004:
The Mountain West Conference extends—and TCU accepts—an invitation to join the league in 2005. It was a disappointing day for Boise State, which had hoped to be included in the Mountain West’s expansion. Commissioner Craig Thompson said the conference’s expansion talks will “at least pause, or cease”, while Boise State president Bob Kustra tried to mobilize the money it would take to make the school a viable candidate in the future. What a tangled web has been woven since.
(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.)