As bad as it was early against UNLV Wednesday night, San Diego State had it going right out of the gate against Boise State. The Aztecs scored 15 points in a little over six minutes into the game last night, more than they had in the entire first half against the Rebels. And there was your omen. Cold-shooting SDSU got hot, the Broncos went into the freezer in the second half, and the Aztecs ran away with an 87-68 rout in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Tournament in Las Vegas. It matched Boise State’s worst loss of the season. While San Diego State was shooting a totally uncharacteristic 55 percent from the field and a stunning 64 percent from three-point range, Boise State went through a second half stretch that saw it score just 10 points in more than 12 minutes. And so it went.
San Diego State was also a rebounding machine last night, dominating the glass 37-23 and pulling down 13 offensive boards. Boise State was a foulin’ machine. Any rhythm the Broncos tried to gain—offensively or defensively—was blunted by whistles. And frankly, not that many of them were bad calls. It’s just something that happens with Boise State. Zach Haney committed a foul on a Trey Kell drive-and-score with less than seven minutes left, a bucket that all but put the game away. Chandler Hutchison was plagued by whistles while scoring only eight points. And Paris Austin inexplicably fouled with 14 seconds remaining. The Broncos were out of sorts.
The Mountain West Tournament frustration continues for Boise State, with another early exit. Not so for San Diego State, which has now won 10 straight quarterfinal games in the tournament. So it’ll be the Aztecs occupying the Friday TV time slot opposite the Tonight Show against Colorado State. Apparently, the Rams’ seven-man rotation still has plenty left in the tank after an 81-55 demolition of Air Force yesterday. There’s the old adage, though: it’s really hard to beat a team three times in one season. And CSU swept SDSU during the conference schedule. In the early semifinal tonight, Nevada will take on Fresno State, a team that swept the Wolf Pack during the regular season. The Wolf Pack took down Utah State 83-69 in yesterday’s quarterfinals, while the Bulldogs outlasted New Mexico 65-60.
The Boise State women’s hoops team is one win away from a trip the NCAA Tournament, which would be only its fourth ever. The Broncos face Fresno State this afternoon in Las Vegas in the Mountain West Tournament championship game, their second title game appearance in three years (they won it all in 2015). Just 10 days ago, Boise State finished a season sweep of the Bulldogs in one of their best performances of the season, a 66-48 in Save Mart Center. Should the Broncos fall today, athletic director Curt Apsey said yesterday on Idaho SportsTalk he feels BSU, with a 24-7 record, is very much on the WNIT radar.
Idaho star Victor Sanders had some trouble with turnovers yesterday, but he saved his best for last. Sanders scored five of his 19 points in the final 1½ minutes, and the Vandals held off Montana 81-77 in the quarterfinals of the Big Sky Tournament in Reno. Idaho faces North Dakota in the semis this evening. Also tonight, College of Idaho goes to the top of the heap at the NAIA Division II National Championships. The Coyotes face No. 1 Union College of Kentucky in the second round in Point Lookout, MO. If you’re going to beat the best, you’d better take care of the basketball, and the Yotes have been doing that. They turned it over just nine times in their 98-93 win over Dakota Wesleyan Tuesday night, the sixth time in seven games that C of I has recorded 10 or fewer turnovers.
Brad Bedell watched from the other side at the Cactus Bowl in December. Now he’ll get a Boise State view, as he’s been hired as the Broncos’ offensive line coach to replace Scott Huff. Bedell has a history with coach Bryan Harsin, serving on his staff at Arkansas State in 2013. Bedell leaves a job he just started—that of assistant head coach and offensive line coach at Lamar. Baylor’s interim coach last year, Jim Grobe, brought him in from Texas State to be an offensive quality control assistant and assistant director of operations. Bedell also played six seasons in the NFL from 2000-06. Now he’s high-tailin’ it out to Boise to dive into spring football.
It’s a big night for Boise State’s Sadi Henderson, who runs the 800-meters at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in College Station, TX. Henderson owns the 10th-best women’s 800 time in the country this season, a 2:04.01 she recorded at the UW Invitational in Seattle in January. She’ll be the first Bronco female athlete ever to compete in the 800 at an NCAA championship event—indoor or outdoor. Allie Ostrander, a budding superstar a year ago, qualified in the 3,000 and 5,000-meters at the 2016 NCAA Indoors. Ostrander redshirted the indoor season this year but expects to be back for the outdoor season this spring.
You can call this the stretch run now for the Idaho Steelheads. And they’re going in the right direction as they finally return home after their longest road swing of the season. The Steelheads won seven of eight games on the trip and open a two-game series tonight against the Cincinnati Cyclones in CenturyLink Arena. With 14 games left in the regular season, the Steelies are sitting in third place in the ECHL’s Mountain Division—they haven’t clinched a Kelly Cup Playoffs berth yet, but they’re in good position for one. The player to watch this weekend for Idaho is forward Brian Nugent, who has posted two-goal games twice in his last four outings.
Graham DeLaet is on the cut bubble at the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, FL, as the second round unfolds today. DeLaet carded an even-par 71 yesterday, a round that would have had a better shine were it not for a double-bogey on No. 12. The other former Boise State standout in the field, Troy Merritt, just can’t seem to get untracked. Merritt recorded five bogeys and a double-bogey with just one birdie on the way to a six-over 77.
This Day In Sports…March 10, 1985:
Dallas coach Dick Motta, the favorite son of Fish Haven, Idaho, becomes the fourth coach in NBA history to win 700 regular season games when his Mavericks defeat the New Jersey Nets, 126-117. He joined NBA coaching greats Red Auerbach, Jack Ramsay and Gene Shue as members of that exclusive club. Motta cut his coaching teeth at Grace High School—where he won a state championship in 1959—and later at Weber State.
(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.)