Geoducks Close at Half, Vandals Pull Away for a 22 Point Win

Story courtesy of Univ. of Idaho Sports Information

November 14, 2008

MOSCOW, Idaho - The University of Idaho men's basketball team used a huge second half run to earn a 91-69 over the Geoducks in its season opener Friday. Idaho (1-0) led 44-38 at the half and used a 23-10 run midway through the second half to pull away for the 22-point victory. Evergreen fell to 3-1 with the loss but the teams official record stands at 1-0, playing 3 of their first four games as exhibitions.

Evergreen stayed in the game with 11 3-pointers and shot 44-percent from the floor.

NAIA All-American Nathan Menefee scored 28 points, but the Geoducks committed 30 fouls and 19 turnovers.

Mac Hopson led the Vandals with 19 points and Kashif Watson added 17 points with 13 coming at the free throw line. The duo combined for 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals with just two turnovers.

Watson also tied the Idaho single-game record with 20 free throw attempts.

Luciano de Souza stirred the crowd with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including 4-of-6 from beyond the 3-point line. He also added four rebounds, two steals, and a thunderous block on a fast break.

As a team, the Vandals shot 47-percent from the floor and hit eight 3-pointers. Idaho held a 42-31 advantage in rebounds, grabbed 19 offensive boards, and combined to score 27 points from the free throw line.

The contest began slowly as Morris hit the first basket of Idaho's season at the 18:37 mark to give the Vandals a 3-0 advantage. At the first media timeout the two teams had combined for just nine points, but 12 fouls.

Evergreen took a 7-6 lead with 14:46 remaining and later used a 7-0 run to build a 16-12 advantage at the 11:57 mark.

Idaho charged back with 10 straight points, capped by back-to-back 3-pointers from de Souza, to give the Vandals a 22-18 lead. The lead changed again at 25-23 and Idaho reclaimed the advantage briefly at 30-29 before Menefee nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to give Evergreen a 35-31 margin.

Morris responded with a three on the next possession to cut the lead to one and a Hopson jumper later put Idaho ahead 38-37 with 1:15 remaining.

The Geoducks tied the score with a free throw before de Souza again hit back-to-back 3's to give the Vandals a 44-38 halftime advantage and a lead they would not relinquish.

Evergreen cut the margin to one to open the second half, but Idaho later used five straight points to pull ahead 54-45. The Geoducks got the score as close as 60-57, but Idaho then rattled off five straight on its way to a 13-3 run and a 13-point lead.

The run hit 23-10 and the margin was 19 after a free throw from Hopson with 4:51 remaining and a Wiley dunk put Idaho up 21 with 1:19 left.

The Vandals scored eight straight to earn their largest lead of the night at 91-66 and Menefee nailed one of his many 25-footers as time expired to make the final score 91-69.

The Geoducks will play a non-conference game at Lewis & Clark College in Portland at 7:00 PM Tuesday evening.