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Boise State basketball: Figuring out those threes

Every once in a while, Boise State lights it up from the three-point line. But when the Broncos are cold, they’re ice-cold. Consistency has proven to be elusive.
Credit: Marco Garcia
Boise State's Derrick Alston brings the ball up the court during a Diamond Head Classic game against Georgia Tech Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Honolulu.

BOISE, Idaho — Tuesday, January 7, 2020.

Boise State is shooting 33.7 percent for the season from three-point range.  That’s not good, but it’s not terrible.  A handful of games pulls that number up, though.  The Broncos are hard to beat when the threes are going down, but it’s not happening often enough.  Take the last four games, for example.  Boise State was lights-out against Cal State Northridge, going 11-for-23 from distance and scoring 103 points.  In the other three contests versus UTEP, Wyoming and Nevada, the Broncos went 12-for-61 from beyond the arc.  That’s 19.7 percent.  The three-pointer is one of the big sidebars in tonight’s game against UNLV for another reason: Justinian Jessup needs just one trey to break Anthony Drmic’s Boise State career record of 275.  Jessup is also just 21 threes away from Jimmer Fredette’s Mountain West record. 

NOT THE RUNNIN’ REBELS OF OLD 

UNLV is getting into a rhythm under new coach T.J. Otzelberger, who came to Las Vegas after leading South Dakota State to two NCAA Tournament appearances and one NIT in three years.  Otzelberger wanted to instill a defense-first mindset in the Rebels, and it’s starting to happen as they come into ExtraMile Arena on a four-game winning streak.  In a 70-53 upset of Utah State a week ago, UNLV held the Aggies to 32.7 percent shooting.  Then the Rebels limited Air Force to 34.6 percent shooting and held the Falcons 19 points below their season average.  (That same Air Force squad turned around and routed USU last night 79-60.) 

MCGWIRE’S MOMENTUM INTO THE MATINEE 

The Boise State women play at UNLV today at 1 p.m. (noon Pacific).  Why?  It’s “Lady Rebel School Day,” serving as a big field trip for kids in the Las Vegas area.  The Broncos’ Mallory McGwire hopes to do some schoolin’ of her own this afternoon.  McGwire is coming off her fourth double-double of the season in Boise State’s smothering of Nevada last Saturday, a 14-point, 10-rebound effort.  Over her first four Mountain West games, McGwire has posted two double-doubles and is averaging 14.5 points, 10.3 rebounds, and two blocked shots per game while shooting 51 percent from the field.  The Broncos will be without veteran assistant coach Cody Butler on the bench.  Butler has been placed on leave, the Statesman reports, due to a sex-abuse lawsuit tied to a previous job.

LATEST TWIST IN THE KELLEN WATCH 

New Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy wants Kellen Moore to stay in Dallas.  But new University of Washington coach Jimmy Lake wants Moore to come to Seattle and call plays for the Huskies.  Chris Petersen isn’t there anymore, but Coach Pete’s culture is still in place, and Kellen is comfortable with it.  It comes down to who Moore wants to work with—and where he wants to live.  At UW, he’d be just three hours from Prosser (and, presumably, Grandpa and Grandma), and he’d be able to mold young players to his vision. 

But later Tuesday night, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported that Moore is leaning toward remaining with the Cowboys.  In Dallas, he’d remain at the highest level of football and work under a respected NFL coach, and he’d have players who can do rather amazing things.  You’d like to think that Boise State would have been in the running had it ben able to compete financially. 

NOW THIS ONE IS A SHOCKER 

It wouldn’t have been a surprise to see Boise State running backs coach Lee Marks leave for a Power 5 program.  But Marks is departing the school he played for and is making what some see as a lateral move.  Marks is joining Kalen DeBoer’s staff at rival Fresno State, according to numerous sources.  He’s slated to be not only running backs coach, but also assistant head coach, so this falls into the “career advancement” category.  But if there was anyone who seemed to "bleed blue," it was Lee Marks.  He was a Broncos back from 2002-05—then he got his feet wet in coaching at Colorado, Sioux Falls, South Dakota State and Arkansas State before returning as a Boise State staffer in 2014, Bryan Harsin’s first season. 

THE EBB AND FLOW OF DRAFT BOARDS 

On Sunday Sports Extra the other night, Jay Tust and Will Hall seemed surprised that I thought Boise State’s Curtis Weaver would be selected ahead of teammate Ezra Cleveland in the NFL Draft this spring.  Hey, I was just gleaning gthe conventional wisdom of those early mock drafts out there.  But indeed, Dane Brugler of The Athletic has updated his top 100 NFL Draft prospects, and Cleveland is No. 50 on the board, with Weaver tabbed as No. 75.  As a matter of fact, Brugler even has Broncos wide receiver John Hightower going before Weaver—Hightower is No. 69. 

NOORISH GETS AN ALL-STAR NOD 

After three road games in three days at Tulsa last weekend, the Idaho Steelheads get to take a breath this week.  Defenseman Brady Norrish will be the lone Steelheads representative at the ECHL All-Star Classic two weeks from tonight in Wichita.  Noorish, in his second season with Idaho, has played 35 games this season, posting two goals and nine assists for 11 points with a plus-four rating.  The Steelies return to the ice this weekend at Fort Wayne. 

THIS DAY IN SPORTS…January 8, 2007: 

January 8, 2007:  Shortly after Florida routs Ohio State 41-14 in the BCS Championship Game, the final college football rankings place Boise State No. 5 in the AP Poll and No. 6 in the Coaches Poll—the school’s highest rankings ever to that point.  The nation was still abuzz a week after the Broncos’ now-legendary 43-42 overtime win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.  Many called for a playoff system so a team like Boise State, the only undefeated school in the country, could play a team like Florida.  But the Broncos were satisfied with the ending…and their place in college football lore.  It was the fourth time in five years Boise State finished the season in the Top 15. 

(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.)