Idaho Stampede squander lead, suffer sweep

Peck: ‘We have to do a better job of handling our business’ after another loss to Santa Cruz.

bmurphy@idahostatesman.comMarch 2, 2014 


    DALLAS — Outspoken Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he can envision scenarios where the country’s top basketball prospects would get drafted and play in the D-League rather than spend one season at an NCAA school.

    Cuban said there’s no reason for a player to attend college as a freshman “because he’s not going to class, he’s actually not even able to take advantage of all the fun because the first semester he starts playing basketball.”

    Cuban said agreements with colleges could still give players a shot at an education. The minimum age for D-League players is 18; the NBA minimum is 19.

    The Associated Press

— Santa Cruz guard Seth Curry, he of the sharp-shooting basketball Currys, swept across the lane and tossed in a running hook shot. On the next Santa Cruz possession, Curry — this time in a more familiar spot — swished a 3-pointer.

Just like that, the Idaho Stampede’s lead vanished, and the home team was headed to its second consecutive loss at CenturyLink Arena.

Santa Cruz outscored Idaho 33-14 in the fourth quarter en route to a 103-95 victory on Saturday night.

With the loss, Idaho (20-17) is now 1 1/2 games behind Santa Cruz (21-15) in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the NBA Development League.

“Losing two, that hurts. So we’ve got to find a way to steal a couple on the road,” Idaho veteran Jason Ellis said. “The playoffs are right there.”

Idaho has 13 games remaining to secure a spot in the crowded field. There are nine D-League teams with at least 20 wins. But the Stampede have the most losses among the group.

“We have to do a better job of handling our business, instead of putting our faith in other people’s hands and saying we’ve got to win, and we need this and this to happen,” Idaho coach Michael Peck said. “That’s not a fun way to live.”

Idaho, which fell to Santa Cruz 114-96 on Friday night, looked solid for most of the night. Forward Kevin Murphy scored 30 points, center Derrick Caracter had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and guard Dee Bost added 19 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

But in the fourth quarter, the Stampede struggled to score. Idaho was 5-for-16 from the floor.

“When you don’t make shots,” Peck said. “Some of those were good looks and they didn’t go in.”

Santa Cruz made 12-of-23 attempts in the fourth quarter. Curry — the former Duke star, son of former NBA player Dell Curry and brother of current Golden State star Stephen Curry — had just 13 points in the game, but his fourth-quarter hook gave Santa Cruz a lead it would not relinquish, and his 3 gave the Warriors some cushion.

Idaho won four straight before its weekend slide. The Stampede added three players before the stretch — forwards Darnell Lazare and C.J. Leslie, and guard Scott Machado — to supplement a depleted roster after leading scorer Pierre Jackson left for Turkey. The newcomers, all reserves Saturday, combined to shoot 8-of-22 from the floor for 19 points, 11 from Machado.

Brian Murphy: 377-6444, Twitter: @MurphsTurph

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