Vandals win OT thriller on Ledbetter three

IDAHO (11-6, 4-1 WAC) JUMPED OUT TO A 6-0 RUN TO START THE GAME AT CAL STATE BAKERSFIELD, built a 14-point lead in the second half, then saw their lead wither away as the Roadrunners sent the game into overtime. With just 1:19 left in OT and down six, Idaho closed the gap. Trailing by one with nine seconds left, senior JEFF LEDBETTER hit a clutch three-pointer at the buzzer for the 78-77 win.

Idaho avoided what could have been a frustrating loss to Cal State Bakersfield (8-9) by winning Saturday night's road game on the final shot of overtime (a Jeff Ledbetter 3-pointer) as time expired. But the real tale of the tape were the little things that the Vandals did to keep the game close despite personnel issues (junior starting forward Luiz Toledo missed the game with an injury, while guard Shawn Henderson got into foul trouble) and blowing a 14-point second half lead. For one, the Vandals hit an impressive 81% from the free throw line as a team, with three players at 100% from the line for the night. Five Vandals also scored in double figures, continuing a trend this season. And finally, on the boards Idaho held an edge over the Roadrunners, battling for a 37-32 rebounding advantage in the end.

Idaho now sits in a second place tie in the Western Athletic Conference standings, knotted with New Mexico State (10-9, 4-1 WAC).

Next up for Idaho is a road game Monday night at Fresno State (who lost to conference leading Utah State Saturday night 52-39), then the Vandals head back home to Moscow to prepare for next Saturday's rivalry clash (January 22nd) with Boise State (currently alone in third place in the WAC) at 7:05pm PST in the Cowan Spectrum (a double-header that follows the women's game against BSU which tips off at 4pm).

Below are highlights from Saturday night's action:

Jeff Ledbetter: He didn't score the most points on the night, but his 13 were good for second on the team. He also went 3-for-4 from three point range, including hitting the most clutch shot of the night, a 3-pointer that gave Idaho a one-point lead as time expired in the overtime period. He stuck to the theme of "threes" by nabbing three rebounds, dishing three assists, and grabbing three steals.

Kyle Barone Had Jeff not hit the game winner at the buzzer, sensational sophomore center Barone would have been the focus of attention tonight. Against Cal-State Bakersfield Barone was outstanding, registering his first career double-double as he led the Vandals with 20 points and backed it up with 13 rebounds. He also led Idaho with 40 minutes PT in the game. The youngster is quickly coming into his own.

Brandon Wiley: Not to be outdone by the youngster, senior forward Brandon Wiley also registered a double-double at Bakersfield, sinking 12 points and nabbing 11 rebounds on the night. He also added an assist, a steal, and one blocked shot.

Shawn Henderson: Henderson scored 12 points for Idaho, including going an impressive 4-of-4 from the free throw line.

Deremy Geiger: The junior point guard rounded out the Vandals double-figure scorers by accounting for 10 points on the night. He also went 2-for-2 at the line, grabbed three rebounds, two steels and dished two assists.

Landon Tatum: Off the bench Tatum scored 9 points for the Vandals and led Idaho with four assists, while adding one steal.

[From the Official Site game summary] The victory extends Idaho's active win streak to five, which is the team's longest since 1998-99, when the team also won five in a row. The last time Idaho won more than five games in a row was 1992-93, when the Vandals rattled off seven straight under Larry Eustachy.

LINK: University of Idaho OFFICIAL Hoops Site GAME SUMMARY

LINK: Cal State Bakersfield OFFICIAL Hoops Site GAME SUMMARY

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