WAC Men's Basketball Recaps - Feb. 7
MOSCOW, Idaho –(UI Media Relations) University of Idaho men’s basketball coach Don Verlin would rather his team not let itself fall into a 17-point margin, but he was plenty happy with the way his team responded once it did.
Idaho (13-11) outscored Seattle University (6-14) 37-24 in the second half and posted its largest comeback victory in four seasons under Verlin with a 70-69 win on Tuesday night at the Cowan Spectrum.
Junior center Kyle Barone scored 17 points and added 12 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season, while senior Deremy Geiger and sophomore Stephen Madison put in 16 points apiece to lead the effort.
Geiger provided the decisive shot of the game, and it was about time. He scored 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting in the first half, but had attempted just three shots in the second – all misses – before fellow senior Landon Tatum found him in the corner on an inbound play for the game-winning 3-pointer with 1:24 to play.
“Landon and I had some pretty good eye contact communication,” Geiger said of the play. “I read it and slid to the open spot and he saw me hanging out down there.”
The shot put Idaho up 70-69 with 84 seconds left to play, but in a game that had been back and forth for the previous nine minutes, the teams combined to attempt just two more field goals in the remainder of regulation.
Idaho got a steal from Tatum with 16 seconds to go, but he missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw opportunity at the other end and gave SU one last chance. The Vandals fouled three times over the next 11 seconds to eat clock and disrupt the Redhawks’ offensive rhythm, Verlin said.
SU still got one final look, and the game’s leading scorer, Aaron Broussard, missed a free-throw-line jumper off the back iron as time expired.
The Redhawks cruised offensively in the first half to the tune of 18-of-36 (.500) overall and 8-of-16 (.500) 3-point shooting, while limiting the Vandals to a 13-of-32 (.406) performance overall and 5-of-14 (.357) shooting from 3-point range. Idaho didn’t help itself much at the free throw line, either, as the team went just 2-of-10 (.200) in the first period.
After the half, the roles reversed and for the 18th time in 24 games this season, Idaho outscored its opponent after the break. The Vandals shot 46.2 percent from the floor and clamped down on Seattle’s offensive flow to hold SU to just 32.1 percent second-half shooting.
“We didn’t come out with intensity in the first half, but I thought we made up for it in the second half,” Verlin said. “I really thought in the second half, we sat down and guarded them with some focus and intensity and that was kind of the difference in the game and was obviously the reason why we came back.”
Idaho also turned the ball over just three times in the second half and held a 20-14 rebounding edge. The Vandals even made 10 of their 14 free throw attempts after the break.
Barone and Madison, who had combined for just nine points on 4-of-8 shooting in the first half, led the charge out of halftime by scoring all of Idaho’s points in a 10-2 run to open the second. That burst pulled Idaho to within four, 47-43, with 17:42 left in the game.
A pair of Barone free throws at 13:24 of the second half brought the game to a 49-49 tie – the first since 0-0 – and then Madison’s layup just over a minute later gave the Vandals their first lead, 52-51. The lead would change six more times in the final 11 minutes of the game before Geiger’s decisive shot.
“It felt like one of those games where we were always in it, but if we let it go on too long we’d be out of it,” Geiger said. “We really wanted to tighten up in the second half and come out playing defense, get some stops and get on a roll.”
Broussard led all players with 20 points on 7-of-17 shooting, along with nine rebounds. Guard Cervante Burrell earned a double-double with 11 assists and 10 points. Sterling Carter added 12 points and Eric Wallace had nine for the Redhawks.
Barone’s 12 defensive rebounds in the game are a career high and an Idaho team season-high total. Tatum added six assists with just one turnover. For the Idaho team, seven of the nine players who saw the court tonight registered an assist and five of those had multiple dimes.
“I thought Kyle Barone rebounded the ball for a period in the second half as good as he has his whole career here,” Verlin said. “It felt like, there for a while, that he was dominating the boards.”
Idaho held a 40-36 rebounding edge and outscored Seattle 34-20 in the paint, 11-5 off turnovers and 12-9 on the fast break. The Redhawks had a 10-8 edge in second-chance points and the teams each registered 13 bench points.
Idaho hits the court again in just two days’ time, when they host New Mexico State in Western Athletic Conference action at Cowan Spectrum. The game will tip off at 8:05 p.m. (PT) as the second half of a doubleheader. The Aggies enter the week in possession of a 17-7 overall record and second place in the WAC at 6-2.