Takin’ care of business

A win at San Jose State was expected. It wasn’t a gimme, though, after what happened to Boise State on the Spartans’ home floor last March. But the Broncos bucked their recent trend of slow starts and took down San Jose State 75-65 Saturday afternoon. It was Boise State’s 30th all-time victory over the Spartans in 33 tries. Defense played a big part. The Broncos knew if they could figure out SJSU’s leading scorer, Brandon Clarke, their chances were good. Well, Clark scored 16 of the Spartans’ first 19 points—then had just 10 the rest of the way, with only three field goal attempts in the second half. Boise State was also sticky around the arc, as San Jose State went just 1-for-13 from three-point range.

There’s a different storyline for Boise State every time out, it seems. And this one belonged to David Wacker. The sophomore power forward took his turn producing a strong inside game by scoring a career-high 17 points and pulling down seven rebounds. It’s been a long time coming for Wacker, who had lost most of the last two seasons to injury. His previous career best of 12 points came in his collegiate debut back on November 14, 2014, in the season opener against San Diego.

The win at San Jose State, coupled with Nevada’s 81-76 home loss to Fresno State, sets the stage for a first-place showdown Wednesday night in Taco Bell Arena. The Broncos and Wolf Pack are tied atop the Mountain West with 5-2 records. But fame can be fleeting in this parity-laden conference. Fresno State, New Mexico, Colorado State and San Diego State are all within one game of Boise State and Nevada in the loss column.

Ideally, Boise State would develop a running back committee ext season to replace Jeremy McNichols. The committee would presumably be chaired by sophomore-to-be Alexander Mattison and would include redshirt freshman Robert Mahone, and maybe senior-to-be Ryan Wolpin. Now, will Drake Beasley become a committee member? The 5-11, 200-pound back from La Canada, CA, committed to the Broncos Saturday. Beasley had offers from seven Power 5 schools during his junior year at Loyola High, but he got caught up in a transfer rule controversy and was ruled ineligible as a senior at La Canada. Beasley is ranked No. 8 among running backs in the West, and he’s the only RB so far in Boise State’s 2017 recruiting class. He could play right away.

The Broncos got another commit over the weekend as the pre-signing day flurry heats up (National Letter of Intent Day is just nine days away). Sean Seawards, a 6-3, 315-pound offensive lineman from state champion Saguaro High in Scottsdale, AZ, had offers from Air Force, Army and Navy, as well as New Mexico. Seawards played on the defensive line until transferring to Saguaro last season, so he’s a big ol’ block of clay ready for molding by offensive line coach Scott Huff (who presumably recruited him). Seawards is the 19th committed member of the 2017 class.

Shea McClellin will represent Boise State, Marsing High, and Chicken Dinner Road in Super Bowl LI. As an edge-rushing outside linebacker, McClellin isn’t in a position to make a lot of tackles. He did contribute two tackles last night in New England’s 36-17 win over Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship Game. One of them was an assisted stop of the Steelers’ DeAngelo Williams for a one-yard loss on first-and-goal from the Patriots’ one-yard line in the second quarter. Pittsburgh ultimately settled for a field goal and a 17-9 deficit at a time when it was still very much in the game. McClellin will be, needless to say, the first Marsing Husky ever to play in a Super Bowl.

Idaho’s Austin Rehkow contributed a field goal in the West’s 10-3 win over the East Saturday in the 92nd East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg. Rehkow connected on a 27-yard boot in the first quarter and later hooked a 38-yarder—he also handled punting chores for the West. Now NFL Draft preparations begin in earnest for Rehkow, who’s projected to go in the fifth or sixth round this spring, probably as a punter.

The Idaho Steelheads have now won eight of their last 11 games after a road sweep of Tulsa over the weekend. Saturday the Steelheads charged out to a 4-0 lead and cruised to a 5-2 victory. Yesterday the Oilers’ Darcy Murphy scored just over a minute into the game, but Anthony Luciani and Jefferson Dahl answered with tallies late in the first period, and that was it in a 2-1 Steelies victory. Goaltender Branden Komm, who returned Friday from Bakersfield of the AHL and made 38 saves Saturday, stopped all 46 shots he faced after Murphy’s early goal yesterday. Idaho is now tied with Allen atop the ECHL Mountain Division with 53 points.

Campus rounds: The Boise State men’s tennis team opened the dual season with a split Saturday at the new Eagle Tennis Club, beating Whitman 7-0 and falling to Denver 5-2. This morning the Broncos host Cal Poly in Eagle, as Boise State coach Greg Patton coaches against new Mustangs assistant Garrett Patton, his son and former BSU standout. The Bronco wrestling team was edged 20-14 by Cal State Bakersfield Saturday to open Pac-12 action in Bronco Gym. And the Boise State women’s gymnastics team fell to No. 5 Utah and No. 7 Denver while picking up a win over Illinois-Chicago at a quad meet Friday night before 15,150 fans (you read that right) in Salt Lake City. In the long run it’s the score that’s important, and the Broncos posted a solid 196.225.

And back to hoops—the Boise State women burst out to a 49-24 halftime lead and rolled to an 86-64 win over San Jose State Saturday. Brooke Pahukoa got it going again with 23 points, including five three-pointers, while the Broncos held the Mountain West’s leading scorer, Dezz Ramos of the Spartans, to nine points. The College of Idaho men dropped a couple tough ones on the road over the weekend, 74-73 at Corban and 84-80 at Northwest Christian. Also Saturday, Northwest Nazarene held off Simon Fraser 80-74 in British Columbia. And the Idaho Vandals romped at home, 65-49 over Northern Arizona to move with 1½ games of the lead in a wide-open Big Sky race.

This Day In Sports…January 23, 1980:

In his State of the Union message, President Jimmy Carter announces the U.S. Olympic team will not participate in the Summer Olympics in Moscow to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan the previous December. The U.S. was one of 65 countries that did not go to the Moscow Games, although those missing presented a number of reasons for their absence. To retaliate, the Soviet Union led a boycott of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles that included 14 countries.

(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.)