Vandals fall to BSU

Despite an impressive 17-point performance by senior guard <b>Tanoris Shepard</b>, the Vandals faultered against rival Boise State for the second time this season. The Vandals lost 70-67 at home as both teams shot a little over 43% from the field, while the Broncos held a decisive 82-40% advantage at the line.

On the good side of things, the Vandals took better care of the basketball and shot much better from the floor than they did in Tuesday's game against Washington State. Unfortunately, Idaho was unable to convert consistently from the free throw line and had some costly defensive breakdowns in the second half, leading to a 70-67 loss to Boise State in the Cowan Spectrum Saturday night.

The Vandals, still looking for their first win of the season, will travel to Pocatello Wednesday to face 2-3 Idaho State. Next home game for the Vandals will be against Great Falls December 11.

Coach Leonard Perry meeting during a time-out.
Idaho's 8-for-20 night at the line (6-for-16 in the second half) was a major factor in the final outcome, but Vandal coach Leonard Perry said it wasn't the only factor. "I think (free throw shooting) was a part of it, but there were so many other parts where we broke down defensively. We gave up 45% in the second half which is not incredibly bad -- we've done worse -- but I thought we broke down on the defensive end too many times to a team that gets up to play the University of Idaho," he said. "Free throws. Sure, that hurt us. We got fouled, and we have to make those.

"I thought turnovers were going to be our Achilles heel, but we only had one in the second half," Perry continued. "I thought that was the only reason the game stayed close...I don't know what else to do. I can't shoot (free throws) for us. I'm happy we got to the line and had 20 attempts. That's big, that's good for us. That means we're doing what we've worked on doing, trying to get to the free throw line, but the misses...I don't know. We're going to keep working at it in practice."

Junior guard #24 Tihon Johnson, joined the Vandals this fall.
The Vandals established an up-tempo game in the first half and used their quickness to break out to a 15-3 lead 7:44 into the contest and were up 35-28 at the half. The Broncos, however, slowed down the tempo in the second half and concentrated on getting the ball into low post Jason Ellis. Boise coach Greg Graham said, "At halftime we talked about everyone just slowing down. That's probably the reason we got off to such a bad start: People in a big rush to shoot. We needed to settle down and take care of the ball."

In the second half the Vandals held a 62-56 lead with 6:34 remaining, but the Broncos caught fire and reversed the margin building a 69-64 advantage with only 20 seconds left after Jermaine Blackburn made both ends of a 1-and-1. The Vandals refused to fold. Dillon Higdon drained a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 2 with 14 seconds remaining. With 12.8 remaining the Vandals fouled Blackburn who made the front end of a 1-and-1 to make it a 3-point game. Blackburn missed the second shot and Anton Lyons grabbed the rebound as the Vandals hustled the ball down the floor. In a flurry Higdon missed from the left wing with 4 seconds left, then Lyons directed the offensive rebound back out to Higdon whose off-balance shot at the buzzer was off the mark.

Disappointed after the loss, Perry said the Vandals will continue to emphasize game-by-game improvement as they prepare for the conference season. "We're going to continue to try to get better every night out," he said. "When we get the opportunity to seize the moment, we have to seize it. I think this team can do it, and I think they will do it. The only thing I know to do is to continue to put them in these types of situations in practice like we do."

Senior guard Dandrick Jones was 7 of 10 from the floor, including 1 for 1 from 3-point range, en-route to a 15-point performance.
Graham in his post-game comments said the Vandals were a better team than their record indicates. "In all their games they've been in it... even the Gonzaga game. They were in that one," Graham said. "If they'll hang in there...I'll tell you what: They've got a lot of guys who can play. Coach Perry has used a lot of players, and they've gotten a lot of experience. It's like they did last year when they made a big run in league and in the tournament. In league play where everybody knows everybody and things tighten up, it's great to have guards who can score and play."

Tanoris Shepard led the Vandals with 17 points, Dandrick Jones added 15, Higdon 14, Lyons 10, Armend Kahrimanovic 8, Lionel Davis 2, and Jarod Haynes 1. As a team the Vandals shot 43% from the floor (both 2-point and 3-point attempts).

Former NBA coach and ESPN analyst George Karl discusses the game with Idaho Athletics Director Rob Spear. Karl was on hand to watch his son, a guard for Boise State, play the Vandals.

Star In The Making: Vandal true freshman Jerod Haynes played 15 minutes against rival BSU. He's catching on to the college game, and recorded 2 assists and 3 defensive rebounds on the night with some impressive no-look passes.

Sophomore guard/forward Dillon Higdon continues to improve. In 23 minutes he scored 14 points and 2 assists.

Junior guard #24 Tihon Johnson (3 rebounds, 10 minutes) on the move with senior forward #25 Anton Lyons (7 points & 10 rebounds in 23 minutes) trailing.

Senior forward #32 Armend Kahrimanovic (6-6, 210) scored 8 points and recorded 3 rebounds in 23 minutes of action. He was a perfect 2 of 2 from the free throw line.

Tihon Johnson goes for 2 over Boise State's Coby Karl.

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