Idaho erases 17-point hole, but falls on late free throw - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Idaho erases 17-point hole, but falls on late free throw

Posted: Updated:

MOSCOW, Idaho – University of Idaho men's basketball capped a frantic rally to erase a 17-point hole and tie New Mexico State with 3.5 seconds left, but a foul on the ensuing inbounds doomed the Vandals in a 71-70 loss on Saturday at the Cowan Spectrum.

 

Idaho (6-9, 2-3 Western Athletic Conference) overcame a sluggish first half that saw New Mexico State (10-8, 4-2 WAC) take a 42-27 lead at the break – the Vandals' largest halftime deficit of the season – but Idaho rallied on 60 percent overall and 55.6 three-point shooting in the second half.

 

"For whatever reason, hung over from the Utah State or Denver games or whatever the case may be, we didn't come out with fire against the team picked to win our league," Idaho head coach Don Verlin said about the first half performance. "We hung with our game plan and we were able to fight a little bit better in the second half."

 

Idaho didn't go on a huge scoring run to cut NM State's big lead, they simply chipped away throughout the second half. A Stephen Madison triple with 43 seconds to play tied the game at 68-68, but the Aggies got a layup from Bandja Sy on the next possession to take a two-point lead.

 

Vandal senior Kyle Barone was fouled with 3.5 seconds to go and he calmly drained both of the one-and-one free throws to knot the game back up at 70-70. Idaho junior Marcus Bell gambled on a steal on the ensuing inbounds and was whistled for a reach-in foul with 2.7 seconds left to send NM State's Daniel Mullings to the line for a pair of free throws. He missed the first, but made the second to give the Aggies the win.

 

"I thought we competed, had some guys step up and make some shots and we executed pretty well down the stretch to come back from what felt like a billion down," Verlin said. "There's some bright things, but the bottom line is we've got to learn to finish games. We've had three games in a row with chances to win and we haven't gotten any of them."

 

Idaho shot 25-of-48 (.521) from the floor, 6-of-14 (.429) from 3-point range and a WAC season-best 14-of-15 (.933) from the free throw line. The Vandals out-rebounded the Aggies by a 29-25 margin, outscored NM State in the paint, 36-32, and on the fast break, 10-4.

 

New Mexico State had a big edge in points off turnovers with a 15-2 margin. Idaho gave up 11 possessions, while the Aggies turned it over just four times. Each team had eight assists in the game.

 

As a team, NM State shot 25-of-52 (.481) overall and 4-of-11 (.364) from 3-point range. The Aggies went 17-of-25 (.680) from the free throw line.

 

Barone tallied his fifth double-double in his last six games with game highs 18 points and 10 rebounds, while sophomore guard Connor Hill put in 17 points on 6-of-14 shooting. After missing his first six 3-point attempts in the game, Hill drained each of his last three and scored 15 second-half points to help spur the comeback.

 

K.C. Ross-Miller and Sim Bhullar tallied 16 points apiece, while Sy added 14 points for the Aggies. Mullings, who entered the game ranked second in the WAC with 19.4 points per game in league play, finished with just eight points on 2-of-9 shooting.

 

NM State outscored Idaho 23-9 over the game's first nine minutes and stretched that lead to as many as 17 points on a Bhullar layup with 13 seconds remaining in the first half.

 

"We didn't have any energy and we weren't running our offense with pace," Hill said of the first half. "In the second half we ran our offense with pace, we were hitting shots, we were getting stops and we were getting out in transition for easy layups and that got us back in the game."

 

Idaho used a 7-0 run, starting at the 12:36 mark of the second half, to cut a 52-39 Aggie lead down to six points at 52-46. The lead never got back to double figures at that point and Idaho continued to whittle down the deficit leading up to the final minute's drama.

 

The Vandals hit the road next week to face league-leading Louisiana Tech, which moved to 14-3 overall and 5-0 in WAC play with a 73-71 win at UTSA on Saturday. The Vandals will also swing by UT Arlington. The Mavericks took a 91-74 road win at Texas State on Saturday to move to 8-6 overall and 3-2 in the WAC.

 

Idaho's game at LA Tech on Thursday tips off at 4 p.m. (PT), while Saturday's game at UTA tips at 5 p.m. (PT).

  • College

    • Rocky Wraps Up Spring Football with Scrimmage

      Check out highlights from the annual Rocky Mountain College spring football scrimmage.

    • Tinsley, Sweet Lead Crimson to Victory over Gray in WSU Spring Game

      by WSU Athletics SPOKANE, Wash. - Quarterback Trey Tinsley threw for 213 yards and three touchdowns while Kyle Sweet had game-highs of eight catches for 138 yards to led the Crimson team to a 34-24 victory over the Gray squad in the annual Crimson and Gray Game Saturday afternoon in front of 5,927 fans at Joe Albi Stadium.   Under sunny skies, the day began with the offense getting the better run of play. Tinsley led the Crimson team on an 11-play, 75-yard drive that culminated ...
    • Gonzaga beat Ohio State earlier this season, 86-59

      Gonzaga's Perkins undergoes shoulder surgery

      In an offseason overflowing with unexpected good news, Gonzaga men's basketball caught a bad break on Friday when Josh Perkins had to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder.

    • Photo: Washington State Athletics

      Ethridge names Laurie Koehn as women's basketball associate head coach

      Prior to coaching with Ethridge, Koehn spent 11 years playing professionally both in the WNBA and oversees.

    • Photo: Washington State Athletics

      Jason Hanson elected to CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame

      Hanson, a pre-med major, was a three-time Academic All-American during his four years in Pullman (1988-91) and concluded his senior season by being named a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete.

    • Throwback Thursday; Craig Carse

      Throwback Thursday with former MSU-Billings Head Basketball Coach Craig Carse

    • Former Gonzaga basketball stars to help Kiwanis Club through basketball game

      Former Gonzaga basketball stars Will Foster and Heather Bowman - along with SWX's Sam Adams - will team up with the Kiwanis Club in a charity basketball game Friday at 7 p.m. at University High School.

    • MSUB Baseball First Home Games this Weekend

      34 games played this season with zero home games, so far, for the MSUB Yellowjacket baseball team. That all changes this weekend when the jackets are home for a three games series against Concordia.

    • Zags get 19th win of year

      Zags edge out Cougs, 7-4

      Gonzaga scored a run in the first inning and added three runs on five hits in the second inning.

    • Jill Barta was named the WCC Player of the Year

      Jill Barta makes Minnesota Lynx's training camp roster

      Barta became the sixth player in program history to be named the West Coast Conference player of the year after averaging 18.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals in her final season at Gonzaga.

    More
HD DOPPLER 6i
/