With San Diego State leading 63-54 with just over a minute to go Saturday, the decibel meter hit a deafening 147.4. With San Diego State leading 63-54 with just over a minute to go Saturday, the decibel meter they keep in Viejas Arena hit a deafening 147.4. The sellout crowd was in full celebration mode on “Blackout The Madhouse” day. Boise State was on the ropes. Then this happened: Mikey Thompson made a pair of free throws to cut the margin to 63-56. Winston Shepard missed a pair of free throws, and Nick Duncan hit his first three-pointer of the game with 48 seconds to play, making it 63-59. Jeremy Hemsley missed two more free throws. Then Paris Austin was fouled and converted a pair from the line, and it was 63-61. Trey Kell missed two more free throws, and Duncan canned the go-ahead three-pointer with 23 seconds left. Then came an Aztecs turnover, two Anthony Drmic free throws with 1.5 seconds to go, and a miraculous 66-63 Boise State victory.
Not only was it the grittiest win of the season (considering the absence of James Webb III) and one of the best late-game comebacks ever for Boise State, it made history at San Diego State as well. The Aztecs had won 164 consecutive games when leading with five minutes to go, and they led at the five-minute mark in this one. It was one of the most amazing streaks in sports, and now it’s gone. It had lasted more than six years. The Broncos are also the first Mountain West team to win back-to-back games at Viejas Arena since BYU did it in 2010 and 2011.
Boise State got two step-up performances in particular in this game, both of them necessary if the Broncos were to have any chance to win. Chandler Hutchison, who had gone nine straight games without scoring in double figures, put up 16 against San Diego State, his most ever versus a Division I foe. Hutchison went 8-for-11 from the field and slammed home three dunks. That would be impressive even for Webb. Then there was Duncan. The junior Australian, with 12 points and 10 rebounds, posted his first double-double of the season and only the third of his career. Stat of the day: In the first 79 minutes of game action against The Aztecs this season Boise State was 2-for-28 from three-point range (1-for-17 in Taco Bell Arena last month). Duncan was 2-for-2 from beyond the arc in the final 48 seconds Saturday.
With sophomore defensive tackle Dereck Boles dismissed from the Boise State football team, the spring spotlight will inevitably shine on newcomer Daniel Auelua. The 6-2, 290-pounder is a junior college transfer from Mesa Community College, and he’ll be charged with adding some maturity to a tackle position that returns just two scholarship players who have recorded playing time, Elliot Hoyte and David Moa. The most noteworthy number for Auelua at Mesa was forced fumbles—he had four of them in two seasons. At least he fills the bill in terms of size. Coach Bryan Harsin has also mentioned high expectations at D-tackle for Matt Locher, the 6-2, 252-pound redshirt freshman from Los Alamitos, CA.
Kamalei Correa hopes to ride a solid time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine into a high NFL Draft pick. Correa ran a 4.69 in the 40 yesterday, third-best among defensive linemen and a number that would tie for ninth among linebackers. Correa’s vertical leap was good—at 34 inches, he was 15th on the D-line board. The former Boise State standout didn’t do as well in the broad jump and the bench press. The bench press was not kind to Darian Thompson yesterday, as he produced only 12 reps. But today’s on-field drills will tell the tale for the Mountain West’s career interceptions leader.
Kellen Moore was on his game Saturday night as the featured guest at the second annual Idaho Youth Sports Commission banquet and auction. The former Boise State great and current Dallas quarterback waxed eloquently about playing multiple sports while growing up in Prosser, WA—and his current side job as coach of his nephew’s fourth grade basketball team. Moore admitted, perhaps unbeknownst to then-Bronco offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin (who was in attendance), that he played intramural basketball while attending BSU to give himself a break. Kellen said inimitable forme Bronco Jarrell Root was his point guard. As for the Cowboys, he pointed out he’s still under contract and will be with the team again this year, but he would not be surprised to see them draft a quarterback this spring.
Jace Malek was poised to become a fullback for the Idaho Vandals last year. Then one week before National Letter of Intent Day he was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma. Idaho coach Paul Petrino honored Malek’s scholarship, though, and—when Jace’s leg was amputated in July—made him a student coach. He was a captain for the Vandals’ opener against Ohio and was awarded the game ball after they beat Louisiana Monroe in October. After a valiant battle against cancer, Malek passed away yesterday in Libby, MT.
The weekend started with a two-point division lead and ended with a three-point advantage for the Idaho Steelheads. Utah picked up a 4-3 shootout win Friday before the Steelheads answered with a dominating 4-1 win Saturday. Goaltender Branden Komm has a bigger role with the Steelies now that Jack Campbell is up in the AHL, and Komm got his first CenturyLink Arena start in the Saturday win. He responded by making 38 saves in 39 attempts. Carson McMillan continues to impress for Idaho, scoring again Saturday for his 10th goal in the past 15 games. The stretch includes two hat tricks, the only ones by a Steelhead this season.
The Idaho Stampede dropped a couple California road games over the weekend. The Stampede blew a 19-point third quarter lead at Bakersfield Friday night and then were shut out in overtime in a 108-103 loss. Jeff Ayres returned to the Stamps from the L.A. Clippers to score 24 points in that one. Saturday night Brandon Fields poured in a career-high 29 points, but the Stampede fell short in a 117-107 loss to the L.A. D-Fenders. Tibor Pleiss, on his latest assignment from the Utah Jazz, posted a double-double each night. Pleiss pulled down a combined 29 rebounds.
Other pro notes: “Tough race,” tweeted Brian Scott after finishing 31st yesterday in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Atlanta. “We will get better. Just missed it this week.” It was Scott’s second event as a regular on the top circuit. The Boise driver started in the 10th spot but said, also via Twitter, that his No. 44 car was “fighting a loose condition” during the race. And Graham DeLaet bookended a couple decent rounds at the Honda Classic with a two-over 72 Thursday and a five-over 75 yesterday. He ended up tied for 53rd with a check for $13,862.
Campus things: The Boise State women snapped their four-game losing streak with a 68-63 win at Taco Bell Arena Saturday over San Diego State, a team BSU beat by 30 points on the road last month. With the win, the Broncos clinched a first-round bye in the Mountain West Tournament. The No. 11 Boise State women’s gymnastics team is poised to jump back up to No. 10 based on regional qualifying score after cruising past Utah State Friday night. The Broncos scored a 196.425 to improve to 9-0 on the season. And two Boise State wrestlers eased the pain of an otherwise sour season for the Broncos by winning individual titles at the Pac-12 Championships, sophomore Geordan Martinez at 149 pounds and senior Chris Castillo at 157.
This Day In Sports…February 29, 1952:
All-American Dick Groat scores 48 points to lead Duke to a 94-64 rout of rival North Carolina. It was Groat’s third 40-point game of the month. He finished second in the nation in scoring that season at 26 points per game before turning his attention to baseball. Groat would become a star shortstop for Pittsburgh and St. Louis, winning the National League MVP award in 1960 and leading the Pirates to their first World Series title in 35 years.
(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.)