Vandal men can’t withstand NMSU’s 3-point barrage - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Univ. of Idaho - Basketball

Vandal men can’t withstand NMSU’s 3-point barrage

(Photo: Univ. of Idaho Athletics) (Photo: Univ. of Idaho Athletics)

Courtesy Idaho Athletics

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Turnovers and perimeter defense  held the Vandals back on Wednesday, as Idaho fell to hot-shooting New Mexico State by a 74-57 margin at the Pan American Center.

 The Aggies hit 12 of their 26 shots from 3-point range and turned 19 Idaho turnovers into 20 points in earning a season sweep over the Vandals. Idaho slips to 13-14 overall and 4-9 in Western Athletic Conference play, while NMSU moves to 18-9 overall and 10-3 in WAC play.

 "We didn't play very good team basketball, offensively, defensively, and rebounding," Idaho head coach Don Verlin said. "We got our tails kicked tonight by a very good New Mexico State team who is playing very well right now and shooting the ball very well."

 The opening period went back and forth until Idaho took a 19-18 lead on a Kyle Barone layup at the 8:58 mark, but the Aggies answered by outscoring the Vandals 23-4 over the remainder of the period, capped off by a Wendell McKines buzzer-beating 3-pointer to send NMSU into the half up 41-23.

 The Vandals limited their second-half turnovers to just five, but only 11 of their 37 attempts from the field for a dismal .297 percentage and couldn't make a dent on NMSU's lead, which never dipped below 15 points for the remainder of the game.

 "You can't make the mistakes we did on the offensive end and not get good possessions," Verlin said. "We didn't have good looks at the basket, we turned it over, we let them get into turnover transition, and that made for a long night."

 Idaho shot a season-low .309 (21-68) from the field and .278 (5-18) from 3-point range for the game. The Vandals grabbed a season-high 46 rebounds, compared to 40 for NMSU, and out-scored the Aggies 30-22 in the paint, 24-20 off turnovers, 11-9 on second chance points and 6-0 in the fast break.

 The Aggies hit 45.3 percent from the floor and a sizzling 46.2 percent from 3-point range. NMSU blocked nine Idaho shots, led by seven from Hamidu Rahman, stole the ball nine times and committed just 14 fouls.

 The key for New Mexico State was the long ball. During the big first-half run that gave the Aggies the huge lead, NMSU nailed five of its seven attempts from 3-point land, while Idaho missed its three long-range attempts during the same span.

 Freshman Kyle Barone and senior Kashif Watson led Idaho with 10 points apiece, while Barone added six rebounds, two assists and two steals, and Watson added eight rebounds, one assist and one block. Senior Marvin Jefferson led the way on the boards, as he grabbed nine.

 Jahmar Young led New Mexico State with 23 points on 9-of-18 shooting, while McKines had 11 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists for the Aggies.

 Idaho's next matchup won't be any easier than Wednesday's game, as the Vandals head to Ruston, La., to face 21-6 Louisiana Tech, which sits in third place in the WAC and hosts Boise State on Thursday. Saturday's game tips off at 5 p.m. (PST).

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