Wazzu last second shot beats Idaho

With true freshman forward #54 <b>Mike Kale</b> playing in one of the lowest scoring games in the history of this long-standing rivalry, Idaho (0-5) lost to Washington State (3-1) by 1 point, 37-36 at the Cowan Spectrum.

MARLIN SMITH / VandalVenue.com
Senior forward #42 Lionel Davis grabbed 7 rebounds and blocked 3 shots in 22 minutes.
They fought back from a 7-point deficit, held Washington State to 15 points and an 18% field goal shooting percentage in the second half, and owned a one-point lead with 2.5 seconds remaining, but one Idaho defensive lapse on an inbound play under the WSU basket allowed Cougar forward Jeff Varem to break free for a slam dunk giving Washington State a 37-36 win in the Cowan Spectrum Tuesday night.

An obviously disappointed Vandal coach Leonard Perry shouldered the load for the loss. "I take full responsibility for it," he said. "I thought it was clear in the huddle. We actually drew the setup in the huddle of what we thought they'd run, and that's exactly what it was. In some way communication broke down...and we had two guys guarding one at the very end. The only way to beat us was for a slip or a very difficult shot from the perimeter which is what we were hoping for...but we switched after we repeatedly said 'No switching' in the huddle, and I'll take responsibility for it. I didn't say it enough. I thought we said it eight or nine times specifically, but I didn't say it enough. I should have said it 10 or 11 or 12 or 13 times. We broke down. The only conceivable way in my eyes (they could beat us) was from a difficult contested jump shot, and we allowed them to slip."

MARLIN SMITH / VandalVenue.com
True Freshman guard #22 Jason Bowden-Key on the court early.
The Vandals, who trailed by 6 at the half and by 5 with 3:02 remaining on a jumper by Thomas Kelati, fought back to tie the game at 34-34 when Dillon Higdon canned an uncontested 3-pointer with 1:36 remaining. Varem sank the second of two free throws to put WSU back into the lead with 1 minute remaining, but following 3 missed Vandal free throws Idaho regained the lead on a Dandrick Jones tip-in of a missed free throw with 18 seconds remaining.

The Cougars' Thomas Kelati missed a 10-foot jumper with 2.5 seconds remaining, but the Vandals were unable to hang onto the rebound giving the Cougars one last possession under their own basket. Kyle Weaver allowed the set play to develop and hit Varem with the inbounds pass for the slam with 1.8 seconds remaining. The Vandals were unable to get off a final shot attempt.

MARLIN SMITH / VandalVenue.com
JC transfer guard #24 Tihon Johnson scored 5 points and 1 assist in 14 minutes.
Perry was pleased with Jones' play throughout the game. "Dandrick played great along with some of his teammates. If we're able to grasp that rebound and it doesn't go out of bounds maybe they foul us, maybe we have a chance to make a free throw or two with just a few seconds left and make it even more difficult for them, but it didn't turn out that way and they got a second crack at it and they ran a guy off three screens and slipped the last one. We got through the other two just fine. At the end there's no solace in losing. I'm not about losing. But lately it seems to be all that we've done, and I'm extremely disappointed in myself and in the staff because we haven't gotten our team to a point where we can win this kind of game.

"I think the team's going to be fine, I really do. I think we're going to be a good basketball team although we're 0-5. I think Dandrick Jones is playing his best basketball in the 1-1/2 years that I've had him. The guy has 4 points tonight and I thought he played terrific. I thought he did an unbelievable job defensively. He's 2-for-10 and I'm extremely proud of the way he played. He's becoming a better basketball player."

Cougar coach Dick Bennett had good things to say about the Vandals. "It wasn't a pretty game, but it was hard fought. They (Idaho) did a good job on the glass. They are really a good rebounding team (the Vandals held a 45-34 rebounding edge). Idaho can be a very good defensive team. That can be their strength."

MARLIN SMITH / VandalVenue.com
Senior forward #25 Anton Lyons scored 8 points and 11 rebounds.
Anton Lyons led the Vandals with 8 points and 11 rebounds. The Vandals wound up shooting 25% from the floor and only 58% from the line missing 6 of 7 free throws in the second half. Washington State shot 26% from the floor and 67% from the line. The Vandals were without the services of point guard Jerod Haynes and forward David Radlovic due to injuries.

Asked what he felt it was going to take to get the Vandals over their slump, Perry said, "It's going to take me continually teaching our guys the right way to play, and when we get to a point in the games where we need to execute to win - getting these guys to continue to do what they're doing, because they're right there..continue to do what they're doing and make the one or two plays that are the difference in games. We're getting closer. I think we have our team's attention. I think they'll come in, work hard in practice. We'll have a game plan for Saturday, and if we execute it we'll win.

The Vandals host Boise State Saturday at 7 p.m.

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