The karma of Senior Night—Boise State seniors scored the first nine points of the game in a rout of Nevada. Sometimes the karma of Senior Night just comes together. Boise State seniors scored the first nine points of the game, and the Broncos rolled past Nevada 76-57 last night inTaco Bell Arena. The first bucket was dropped in by Anthony Drmic, and man was that an omen. Drmic, taking a lead role on offense again, put up a game-high 22 points, and—with 11 rebounds—recorded his first double-double of the season and his first in more than two years. Incredibly, the Aussie had seven of Boise State’s 12 offensive boards. Drmic passed old compadre Derrick Marks into third place on the Broncos’ career scoring list with 1,917 points. He needs 28 points to break Tanoka Beard’s record, and he has at least two chances at it.
Nevada was summarily ambushed by the inspired Broncos. The Wolf Pack hadn’t previously been swept by a Mountain West team this season (Boise State won in Reno 74-67 in January) and Pack coach Eric Musselman thought his team would have the karma. He put his guys on a bus instead of flying to Boise as they normally would. “We’re bussing just because we seem to do so well on bus trips,” Musselman told the Reno Gazette-Journal earlier this week. Nevada’s D.J. Fenner had hoped it would serve as incentive. “You don’t want to take a long bus ride after a loss, so you make sure you win those games,” Fenner said. Jordan Valley, Rome, McDermitt, Orovada, Winnemucca, Lovelock, Fernley…sounds really, really long.
This kind of flew under the radar last night, but Boise State’s victory was its 20th of the season, the fifth time in six seasons under Leon Rice the Broncos have reached that plateau. This did not fly under the radar at all: James Webb III returned after missing just one game with a sprained MCL. Webb not only posted 15 points and seven rebounds, he had three steals and two blocked shots. As for BSU’s non-Drmic seniors last night, Mikey Thompson wrapped up his regular season home career with seven points, Montigo Alford had six, and Lonnie Jackson three.
Here’s the latest on the Mountain West seeding sweepstakes. Boise State has clinched at least the No. 3 seed in Las Vegas next week. That’s a pretty heady accomplishment after the Broncos looked like they were flirting with missing out on a first-round bye after having a win at Colorado State taken away from them three weeks ago. Boise State could become the No. 2 seed if it wins at San Jose State Saturday and Fresno State loses at Utah State. The Bulldogs pummeled CSU last night in Fresno, 87-73 (it wasn’t that close) to maintain their lock on second place.
The Mountain West’s 2016 football schedule is out delightfully early. If Boise State wants to erase the sour tastes from last season, it’ll have a chance right out of the gate in the conference slate. The Broncos host Utah State on October 1 before heading to New Mexico the following week. The BYU game has been moved up to Thursday, October 20, for a telecast on one of the ESPN networks. And Boise State closes the regular season against its fourth source of misery from last year, at Air Force on Thanksgiving weekend. The Broncos have a 100/30/10 theme going—the 100th birthday of Lyle Smith this month, the 30th anniversary of the blue turf, and the 10th anniversary of the first Fiesta Bowl season.
Boise State’s bye weeks the past two seasons came late in the year. This time it’s early—really early. The Broncos will off the third week of the season, after the home opener against Washington State and before the trip to Oregon State. So they won’t have the luxury of a recovery week at the time of the year when teams are typically banged up. On the one hand, it would seem like an advantage for Boise State to get an extra week to prepare for the Beavers, but consider that the Broncos struggled after those past two byes. In 2014, they allowed 49 points and a record 505 rushing yards in a 60-49 win at New Mexico. And last year there were the infamous back-to-back losses on the blue turf to the Lobos and Air Force.
The Idaho Steelheads and Alaska Aces traded goals all game long in CenturyLink Arena last night, but the home team got the last one. Jefferson Dahl tallied just 13 seconds into overtime, and the Steelheads won it, 4-3. It was Philippe Desrosiers’ turn between the pipes for the Steelies, and he made 26 saves on 29 attempts to record his first win since rejoining the Steelheads last week. Idaho uncorked only 20 shots on goal, but it’s how many go in that counts. The Steelies extended their lead in the ECHL West Division to five points, as Utah lost at Quad City last night, 4-2.
Lindsay Vonn is shutting it down this season, and that means she’ll miss the U.S. Alpine Championships later this month in Sun Valley. Vonn, who’s currently first in the overall women’s World Cup standings, suffered what was originally thought to be a hairline fracture last Saturday in Andorra during a super-G race. But an ensuing MRI and CT scan indicated she has three fractures in her tibial plateau. Fellow American star Ted Ligety was already a scratch for Sun Valley after tearing his ACL in January.
There’s a lot of meaning in the final week of the regular season for Idaho and Idaho State. It starts tonight, as the Vandals host Weber State in Cowan Spectrum and the Bengals visit Eastern Washington. UI and ISU are part of a four-way tie for third place in the Big Sky with Eastern and North Dakota. The top four receive first-round byes in the conference tournament in Reno next week. The Vandals and Bengals finish against each other Saturday night in Moscow.
Also in hoops, Joey Nebeker was named All-Cascade Conference yesterday. The Boise State transfer and former Melba Mustang averaged 20.7 points per game, third in the conference and the most by a Coyote in 18 years. And the boys state basketball tournaments begin their intense three-day run today all over the Treasure Valley. The 5A tourney is at the Ford Idaho Center, 4A is at Borah, 3A will play at Meridian High, 2A schools are at Capital, and the two 1A tournaments are at Vallivue and Caldwell High. I’d expect Nebeker will head oaver to Capital to watch Melba take on Wendell in the first round tonight.
Fields were announced yesterday for the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships (swimmers only) and the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Senior Sam Wicks, junior Brittany Aoyama and sophomore Emma Chard were invited to compete in individual swimming events, while all three Broncos freestyle relays (200, 400, 800) and the 200 medley relay also earned berths. The meet willbe held in Atlanta March 16-19. In track and field, Boise State will be represented by David Elliott and Allie Ostrander. Elliott will run the mile and the 3,000-meters, and Ostrander is entered in the 3,000 and the 5,000-meters. Indoor nationals are set for March 11-12 in Birmingham.
This Day In Sports…March 3, 1984:
With the groundwork already laid for what would be a very successful Olympics in Los Angeles that summer, Peter Ueberroth is elected the commissioner of baseball effective October 1. Ueberroth’s accomplishments during his 4½ years in office were numerous—he avoided an umpires strike and players strike, and negotiated the sport’s first billion-dollar TV contract. Ueberroth did, however, lose three large cases charging collusion between the commissioner and the owners. Did you know? Ueberroth graduated from San Jose State in 1959 with a degree in business.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)