BOISE, Idaho — Thursday, March 7, 2019.
So it happens again. Boise State just could not make a play at the end, and it suffered its sixth consecutive loss Wednesday night, 73-72 at New Mexico. And there’s this tired old stat: the Broncos are now 1-9 this season in one possession games at the end of regulation. It has to be frustrating for guys like Justinian Jessup and Derrick Alston, who logged 40 and 39 minutes, respectively, and scored 23 points apiece. Jessup played perhaps the best all-around game of his career, adding six rebounds, four assists and two steals. But the overall grade for the team was “incomplete.” Both big men, Zach Haney and David Wacker, fouled out. And RJ Williams and Marcus Dickinson both went scoreless.
A lot has been made of the KenPom metrics tabbing Boise State as the unluckiest of all 353 teams in Division I basketball. But what happened in crunch time in Albuquerque was not bad luck. The Broncos had trailed by 12 points at halftime before clawing their way back into it. They had two leads in the final 2½ minutes. Then, as has happened so many times this season, Boise State couldn’t get the stop it needed. The Broncos allowed two offensive rebounds in the final 35 seconds. Yet, trailing by one, they were handed an opportunity to win when the Lobos missed two free throws with eight seconds left. But Boise State’s final possession was out of sorts. Coach Leon Rice wanted a timeout, his players didn’t hear him, and the Broncos didn’t even get a shot off before the buzzer.
PEACE OF MIND FOR THE BRONCO WOMEN
Boise State women’s coach Gordy Presnell, with the Mountain West regular season title and No. 1 seed in the conference tournament in hand, can afford to play a lot of players tonight at Air Force. But then again, he does anyway. The Broncos have nine players averaging at least 10 minutes per game, and not one averages 30. Boise State will be heavily-favored in the regular season finale at Clune Arena, having routed the Falcons 79-48 in January. The Broncos are shooting for their 25th win of the season.
MARCH KICKS IN FOR CANYON COUNTY
Hopes are high for the College of Idaho men as they begin play this morning at the NAIA Division II Championships in Sioux Falls, SD. The 28-5 Coyotes take on Voorhees College of South Carolina, which is 24-5 with a 16-game winning streak. The Yotes will need their enviable depth, as they’re probably going to be runnin’. The Tigers average 92 points per game, and their leading scorer, forward Denzel Femble, has averaged more than 25 points over his past five games. C of I ended the regular season ranked No. 5, climbing two spots in the final poll. The Yotes remained in the top 10 through the entire season.
It’s conference tournament time for Northwest Nazarene, as the NNU men face Simon Fraser in the GNAC’s first round tonight in Bellingham, WA. On Tuesday, Adonis Arms became the first NNU player—men’s or women’s—to be named GNAC Player of the Year. Arms earned Newcomer of the Year honors to boot after leading the conference in scoring at 20.9 points per game. Teammate Obi Megwa, the league’s second-leading scorer, was also first-team All-GNAC. Meanwhile, the Nighthawk women begin tournament play tomorrow in the semifinals.
THE EVER-PRESENT COACH PETE
Veteran writers Stewart Mandel and Bruce Feldman of The Athletic unveiled their “25 Best Coaches in College Football” Wednesday, and both have Washington’s Chris Petersen No. 3 behind Alabama’s Nick Saban and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney. Mandel: "Petersen’s Boise State teams were so wildly successful (92-12, two Fiesta Bowl wins) that it’s caused some to call his Washington tenure disappointing. Ridiculous. The Huskies—who averaged seven wins a year under predecessor Steve Sarkisian—have gone 32-9 the past three seasons, with a CFP berth and Rose Bowl trip." Feldman: "After arriving in Seattle, he’s turned the Huskies into the best program in the Pac-12. He’s also dominated another top 10 guy on this list, Mike Leach, in the Apple Cup rivalry, and it hasn’t been close."
WHAT ABOUT THE GROUP OF 5?
The Athletic’s Chris Vannini gave the Group of 5 its due with a top 15 list. And Boise State’s Bryan Harsin is No. 3 on that one. Writes Vannini: “In six years as a head coach, Harsin has failed to win a division or conference championship just once. He’s 52-15 in five years at Boise State with two conference titles and a win in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl. While that may not match what Chris Petersen did before him, it’s still a strong record for anyone.” I think a lot of fans would do well to re-read those last two sentences. Harsin is 52-15. It’s not Coach Pete level, but nobody’s ever going to do that again.
CURRENT TOP 25 TEAMS ON CAMPUS
Shani Remme won’t be competing tonight, but she’ll be honored as the 13th-ranked Boise State women’s gymnastics team celebrates Senior Night in a Taco Bell Arena showdown with 16th-ranked BYU. Remme and her torn ACL will find a way to get out onto the floor for the ceremony with fellow seniors Sarah Means and Alex Esmerian. Remme amassed the most all-around and beam wins in Bronco history during her career. And the 24th-ranked Boise State women’s softball team plays at the Louisville Slugger Tournament Friday and Saturday in Stockton, CA. The Broncos are in the top 25 for the first time ever after building a 13-game winning streak under new coach Maggie Livreri.
SCHEMPP’S LIGHTNING SILENCES THE THUNDER
Kyle Schempp scored a goal midway through the first period and another midway through the second, igniting a 4-1 Idaho Steelheads victory over Wichita Wednesday night in CenturyLink Arena. Goalie Tomas Sholl kept the Thunder quiet with 33 saves in 34 attempts, and Will Merchant contributed an assist in his first game since being traded back to the Steelheads. With the victory, the Steelies moved back into a tie atop the ECHL Mountain Division with the idle Tulsa Oilers.
This Day In Sports…March 7, 2016:
In the midst of an historic season, the Golden State Warriors break the NBA record for longest home winning streak, notching their 45th straight at Oracle Arena in a 119-113 victory over the Orlando Magic. Warriors star Stephen Curry, who scored 41 points, also became the first player in NBA history to make 300 three-pointers in a season. Golden State surpassed the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls' 44 straight regular-season home wins. The streak would reach 54 games before being snapped by the Boston Celtics about four weeks later.
(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.)