Vandals hold off Bengals in Boise

dsouthorn@idahostatesman.comDecember 21, 2013 

Idaho State guard Andre Slavik grabs a loose ball as he collides with Idaho center Joe Kammerer during their game Friday night at CenturyLink Arena.

The last time they played in Boise, the Idaho Vandals’ comeback attempt was in vain.

On Friday, they made sure not to be on the wrong side of another rally.

Facing the Idaho State Bengals at CenturyLink Arena, Idaho led by 10 with 4 minutes to play, but saw that edge cut down to two in the final seconds.

Senior Glen Dean went to the line with 7.9 seconds to play, hit both free throws and gave Idaho a 69-65 victory.

“I shoot a lot of free throws every day, for moments like that,” said Dean, who led the Vandals with 18 points.

Idaho (6-6) lost to Boise State 98-89 on Nov. 27 on the same floor, a game in which the Vandals trailed by 23 before cutting the deficit to five in the final minute.

The Vandals trailed the Bengals 32-30 at the half Friday, but made 11 of their first 15 shots in the second half to build a 63-50 lead.

Idaho State fell to 3-5.

“We were able to knock down some wide-open 3-point shots, then they changed their defense a little bit, kind of spread out, and we were able to drive and score at the rim,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said.

However, the Vandals’ hot shooting cooled off, and they never made a field goal after building the 13-point lead.

As Idaho went frigid, Idaho State cut the lead to 66-64 on a Chris Hansen 3-pointer with 1:08 to go, and to two again on a Hansen free throw with 11.3 seconds left before Dean put the game into two-basket territory.

“Our guys hung in there, we got some stops and made some baskets at the other end,” Idaho State coach Bill Evans said. “But I’m not being sarcastic — we just could not stop them.”

The Vandals finished 11-of-17 in the second half (64.7 percent). Hansen had 18 of his 23 points for the Bengals in the final 20 minutes.

It was the second straight win for Idaho over Idaho State, bringing the Vandals’ all-time record in the series to 61-41. The Bengals won the previous five meetings before Idaho won 75-69 on Feb. 23 in Pocatello.

“We didn’t do a very good job executing down the stretch,” Verlin said. “I figured it was going to be close.”

While the Vandals missed seven of their 21 free throw attempts in the second half, they needed every one of those that went in — and did enough well in the first 13 minutes to ride out the last 7 while in front the whole way.

“It probably carried us the rest of the second half to get that win,” Dean said.

The game was a nonconference contest, but next year Idaho joins Idaho State in the Big Sky Conference.

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