Abu Kigab was absent (still injured). Derrick Alston was ice cold. And Justinian Jessup cooled off after reaching his long-awaited milestone. So who would Boise State turn to with its offense lulled into lethargy at Wyoming Tuesday night? It would be senior Alex Hobbs, with freshman Max Rice in a supporting role in a 67-62 win in Laramie. Hobbs put up a career-high 24 points with a slew of big buckets, including back-to-back three-pointers around the five-minute mark that finally gave Boise State the lead for good after the Broncos had been trailing for 11 minutes. Rice went 4-for-4 from distance in the first half and had equaled his career-high of 12 points by the intermission. Boise State has now won five Mountain West games in a row for the first time in five years.
One intensely strange thing about this game: Boise State’s knack for penetrating, drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line was nullified when opportunity should have been knocking. The Broncos went into the bonus with just under 16 minutes left in the game, yet they didn’t get to the free throw line until 1:15 remained—when the Cowboys had to foul. It was a treading water kind of night.
But this one will be remembered for the sweet left-handed stroke of Jessup, who hit the Mountain West mountaintop. Jessup’s first three-point attempt of the game went in, breaking Jimmer Fredette’s conference record of 296 set nine years ago. He drained his next one, too. Jessup didn’t hit another trey in the game, but he did drop in four straight free throws in the final 1:15 to help clinch the victory and scored 16 points.
HOPING FOR A FOURTH-QUARTER FLIP
The Boise State women have a score to settle tonight, and it’s important that they do it as the Mountain West stretch run hits. The Broncos host Wyoming in ExtraMile Arena. Their first game against the Cowgirls was symptomatic of the team’s fourth-quarter woes this season. On New Year’s Day, Wyoming erased a six-point Boise State lead entering the final period to grab a 73-68 win in Laramie. But the Broncos are coming off what they hope is a turning-the-tables game, their 83-72 win at Nevada last Saturday. Boise State will be celebrating #GirlDad tonight in honor of late L.A. Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna as part of the program’s pre-planned National Girls and Women In Sports promotion.
THE CLASS IS UP TO 20+
On the eve of National Letter of Intent Day (which is today), Boise State received another 2020 commitment. It’s Gabriel Hunter, a 6-4, 220-pound STUD end/linebacker from Hendrickson High in Pflugerville, TX. Hunter is the third Texan in this recruiting class, joining wide receiver LaTrell Caples and safety Semaj Verner, who both signed in December. The Broncos like those cerebral defenders—Hunter’s other offers were from Air Force, Columbia, Cornell and Dartmouth. He may think himself into the starting lineup (after strength and conditioning coach Jeff Pitman shapes him). We’ll see what else might be out there today. A second quarterback? A running back?
NO DANTONIO ON THE BLUE
When Michigan State visits Albertsons Stadium in 2½ years, Mark Dantonio won’t be its coach. Dantonio, the winningest coach in Spartans history, stepped down yesterday after 13 seasons, a day after his former recruiting director filed claims that Dantonio committed NCAA recruiting violations as part of an ongoing lawsuit. There have also been numerous allegations of sexual assault against Michigan State players. The Broncos visited East Lansing in the 2012 season opener on ESPN for their first game of the post-Kellen Moore era. Dantonio’s Spartans won 17-13, holding Boise State to 206 yards of total offense while MSU star Le’Veon Bell was rushing for 210 yards.
TEDFORD TURNS THE PAGE
There’s an update in the Fresno Bee this week about former Fresno State coach Jeff Tedford, who stepped down from his post in December due to health concerns. Tedford, who became highly-respected in the profession during his years at Cal, revived the Bulldogs program in 2018 and 2019, winning the Mountain West championship on the blue turf in that second year. But last season wore him down. Robert Kuwada reports that Tedford had a heart procedure, a cardiac ablation, two weeks ago at the Mayo Clinic. “He returned home to Fresno and has been taking it easy, recuperating, following doctors orders,” writes Kuwada. There might be football in Tedford’s future, but not soon. He has a to-do list, and at the top of it are the words “river” and “cruise.”
STEELIES JOCKEY FOR SECOND THIS WEEKEND
It’s the Allen Americans and everybody else in the ECHL Mountain Division this season. Allen has a commanding 15-point divisional lead with 23 games left. It’s not impossible for someone to catch the Americans, but it’s a longshot. The next two teams in the standings, the Utah Grizzlies and Idaho Steelheads, play each other twice this weekend in CenturyLink Arena. The Steelheads, who won just six of 13 games in January, currently sit in third place, two points behind Utah. So a sweep of the Grizzlies would get the Steelies into second.
THE RECORD BOOK BOYS
History is getting fun for College of Idaho. This is how it shakes out going into tonight’s I-84 Rivalry game at Eastern Oregon. The Yotes have won 16 games in a row, their longest streak since the Elgin Baylor-R.C. Owens crew in 1954-55 (they won 18 straight). C of I is 20-3 overall and is the first Cascade Conference team ever to win its first 13 league games. No school has ever gone through a Cascade schedule undefeated—it’s been 18 years since a team has finished with one loss. There are five games remaining in the regular season (including tonight).
This Day In Sports…brought to you by BBSI BOISE…we’re payroll, we’re risk, we’re HR, we’re business!
February 5, 2012: Eli Manning leads the New York Giants on an 88-yard drive, capped by a six-yard Ahmad Bradshaw touchdown run that wasn’t supposed to be, to win Super Bowl XLVI 21-17 over the New England Patriots. The Giants had intended to run out the clock and kick a field goal to keep the Patriots from getting the ball back. But the Pats tried to let the Giants score—and despite trying to stop at the one-yard line, Bradshaw’s momentum caused him to fall into the end zone with 57 seconds left. Nevertheless, New England and Tom Brady couldn’t answer, and the game ended on a failed Hail Mary. The Giants became the first team to go 9-7 in the regular season and win the Super Bowl.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)