The veteran team did not play like one down the stretch, and Boise State is left with a thoroughly discouraging loss. The veteran team did not play like one down the stretch last night, and Boise State is left with a thoroughly discouraging 80-78 loss at New Mexico. The Broncos had dominated the second half and had built a 15-point lead with six minutes remaining. It looked like they were going to name the score. Instead, the Lobos ended the game on a 19-2 run as Boise State fell apart. In one fell swoop, the Broncos dropped from third to fifth-place in the Mountain West. In those fateful six minutes, they went 1-for-9 from the field and missed all three of their free throws, and those freebies were crucial. One was the front end of a one-and-one by Anthony Drmic with 4:17 remaining and BSU up by eight, and the other two came from Nick Duncan with 2:10 left when the Broncos were hanging onto a four-point lead.
What Boise State’s James Webb III said after the Wyoming game was decidedly not prophetic. “I think it shows what we can do and what we can be,” said Webb last Saturday. “If we play every game like this, I think we can win out from here. It’s just about a mindset for us.” Well, the mindset was in place until the faucet turned off last night. Now the Broncos have to live with this one all the way into next week, as they have a Saturday bye coming up. They’re still in position for a first-round bye in the Mountain West Tournament, sitting a game and a half ahead of sixth-place Colorado State. But the expectation for this team this season was that it would be talking about one of the top two seeds in the tournament, not one of the top five.
There was a game within the game late in the first half last night. Boise State had gone back into the three-point doldrums, starting the evening 1-for-8 from beyond the arc. Then Drmic innocently hit his first trey with 6:37 left before halftime. That ignited a stretch of four minutes and 13 seconds during which the Broncos and Lobos combine to drop in 11 consecutive three-pointers. One after another after another. I’ve never seen a sequence quite like it. Boise State had six of the threes, and Drmic canned five of them. He became Boise State’s all-time leader in made three-pointers, passing Coby Karl with 267. Drmic also scored 30 points, hitting that plateau for the first time since the Diamond Head Classic against South Carolina just before Christmas two years ago.
It’s the time of year when college basketball teams are just banged up, and Idaho is no exception. Already missing leading scorer Victor Sanders, the Vandals will likely be without starting big man Ty Egbert tonight at Portland State. Egbert sprained an ankle in practice last week. Idaho does have Perrion Callandret back, though. Callandret made his return against North Dakota last Saturday after missing nine games with a sprained foot, scoring nine points and grabbing four rebounds in the victory in 24 minutes of action. It’s a critical week for the Vandals, who are just outside the magical fourth-place spot in the Big Sky that earns a first-round bye in the conference tournament. They play at Sacramento State on Saturday.
It’s far from a forgone conclusion that Doug Martin will remain a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. And that’s the Bucs’ fault, as they didn’t offer the fifth-year option on the former Boise State star’s contract last summer. So Martin promptly used his fourth year as a pro to finish second in the NFL in rushing. ESPN.com has “50 Predictions For 50 Offseason Questions,” and its answer to “Will Tampa Bay keep Doug Martin?” is, “Martin will cash in elsewhere as a free agent. It’s not easy to get paid as a free-agent running back anymore, but Martin offers the best combination of age, skill set and versatility to command good coin.” Negotiations can begin for unrestricted free agents on March 7.
Among the Treasure Valley’s three PGA Tour cardholders last week, Tyler Aldridge had a career payday, Troy Merritt missed the cut, and Graham DeLaet didn’t play in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. All three are entered today as the Northern Trust Open tees off outside Los Angeles. DeLaet has struggled this season, but he has particularly good memories of Riviera Country Club. Last February was the highlight of DeLaet’s year, and it ended with a tie for eighth at the Northern Trust Open. That came two weeks after a tie for seventh at the Phoenix Open. He won $413,882 for the month. Right now DeLaet has $272,083 in earnings for the entire 2015-16 season.
Rapid City did not follow the script last night. The Idaho Steelheads had won 20 of their last 26 games, and the Rush were supposed to take the Steelheads’ home ice and serve as the dutiful houseguests, especially coming in as the last-place team in the ECHL West Division. But Rapid City goalie Danny Battochio pitched a shutout in a 2-0 victory, handing Steelies netminder Jack Campbell a rare loss in the process. Idaho thus falls back out of first place in the division with Utah having toppled Atlanta 5-4 in overtime last night.
Pitchers and catchers reported to spring training yesterday. That means hope springs eternal—and it also means we have a new way to follow former Boise Hawk John Lackey. He’s now a Chicago Cub and is expected to bring some veteran savvy to a pitching staff that could key an historic run for a team that hasn’t won a World Series in 108 years. Lackey was signed away from the rival St. Louis Cardinals in December at the age of 37, with 23 postseason appearances and six World Series outings under his belt. In 2002, Lackey became the first rookie to win a Game 7 in the World Series in 93 years when the Angels finished off the Giants.
Brian Scott’s new spot on the Richard Petty Motorsports team is a career-changer for the Boise High grad. Scott will now race the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series full-time, and he’ll kick off the season tonight at Daytona Motor Speedway. Scott will start out of the 12th position in Can-Am Duel 1, one of the two races that will set the field for Sunday’s Daytona 500. He has momentum after recording the fastest time in practice sessions yesterday at 199.800 miles per hour. That was the second-best time of the week on the Daytona track.
I used this term earlier this winter, but now let’s officially anoint Tibor Pleiss as the Idaho Stampede’s Yo-Yo Man this season. The 7-3 German center has now completed his third roundtrip jaunt between Salt Lake City and Boise after being called back up by the Utah Jazz yesterday. In his three stints with the Stampede this season, Pleiss has started 13 games and has averaged 11.9 points and 9.5 rebounds while shooting better than 58 percent from the field. He has appeared in 12 games for the Jazz this season. The Stamps return from the All-Star break to host Grand Rapids tomorrow night in CenturyLink Arena.
Other notes: the Boise State women continue to slump, falling 70-60 to New Mexico last night in Taco Bell Arena. The Boise State swimming and diving team is in second place behind Nevada after the first day of the Mountain West Championships in College Station, TX. And the Boise State women’s gymnastics team is gearing up for its marquee home meet of the season against Ohio State tomorrow night in Taco Bell Arena. The Broncos, back up to No. 9 in the nation, have their sites squarely set on a first-ever team trip to the NCAA Championships.
This Day In Sports…February 18, 1986, 30 years ago today:
Alvin Robertson of the San Antonio Spurs records only the second quadruple-double in NBA history. Robertson posted 20 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals in a 120-114 win over the Phoenix Suns. There have been only three more quadruple-doubles since, the last one in 1994. Robertson’s is the only one with steals as the fourth category (the other four players did it with blocked shots).
(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.)