Appleby help Louisiana Tech top Idaho 72-66 - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Appleby Help Louisiana Tech Top Idaho 72-66

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By: Univ. of Idaho Athletics

RUSTON, La. University of Idaho men's basketball out-shot and out-rebounded Louisiana Tech on the road, but the Vandals gave away too many possessions in a 72-66 loss on Thursday at the Thomas Assembly Center.

Idaho (6-10, 2-4 Western Athletic Conference) turned the ball over a season-high 23 times – a majority of which were unforced – which gave Louisiana Tech (15-3, 6-0 WAC) 15 extra shot attempts and 33 points off turnovers.

"It's one of those situations where we aren't able to secure the ball," Verlin said. "Our guards get a little loose with the ball and get going a little fast, we turn it over, they get easy baskets, the game swings and we're on the wrong side of it again."

Idaho led by as many as 10 points early in the game and held a lead for the game's first 27 minutes by controlling the tempo, contesting jump shots and limiting the Bulldogs to just 2-of-15 (.133) shooting from 3-point range in the first half.

While LA Tech couldn't make a long-range shot in the first half, it was the complete opposite case in the second 20 minutes. The Bulldogs went 8-of-18 (.444) from long range in the second half and capitalized on 14 Vandal turnovers in the period to get 20 extra points.

Vandal sophomore guard Connor Hill broke open a 42-42 tie with his NCAA-leading fourth four-point play of the season, then Idaho junior Stephen Madison went on a personal 7-2 run to give the Vandals a seven-point lead, 53-46, with 9:37 to play.

After a Kyle Barone three-point play dunk gave the Vandals a 56-50 lead at the 7:07 mark, Idaho struggled. The Vandals turned the ball over three times in their next four possessions and the Bulldogs scored eight unanswered points to take a 58-56 lead.

After a Madison free throw, Hill gave Idaho its final lead of the game at 3:08 with a baseline jumper to make it 59-58, but LA Tech's Kenyon McNeail slipped free for back-to-back 3-pointers. Kyle Barone cut the lead to one point with a layup at 1:43, but Idaho turned the ball over on its next four possessions and LA Tech went on an 8-0 run to put the game away in the final minute.

Madison led Idaho with 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting. He also added a team-high eight rebounds and three assists in the game. Barone added 19 points and seven rebounds with an 11-of-12 free throw shooting night. Hill finished with nine points and six rebounds.

Guard Kenneth Smith led LA Tech with 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting and 5-of-8 long-range shooting. He also added eight assists and four steals. Preseason All-WAC guard Raheem Appleby came off the bench and scored 20 points on 9-of-17 shooting.

Idaho went 24-of-52 (.462) from the floor and 3-of-10 (.300) from 3-point range in the game. The Vandals went 15-of-18 (.833) from the free throw line. Idaho also out-rebounded Louisiana Tech by a 42-29 margin.

LA Tech went 27-of-67 (.403) from the floor and 10-of-33 (.303) from 3-point range, along with 8-of-11 (.727) 3-point shooting. The Bulldogs held a 31-4 bench scoring advantage in the game.

Louisiana Tech ran a full-court press defensively all game. Idaho managed the press well, but mistakes after breaking the press hurt the Vandals all night long.

"I thought we did a decent job of handling the pressure, but then we made a bunch of un-fundamental mistakes," Verlin said. "We've got to be strong, we've got to be tough, we've got to find a way to take care of our basketball."

Those mistakes included several traveling violations and off-the-mark passes, which gave away too many possessions and gave the Bulldogs too many extra chances.

"The bottom line is shot attempts," Verlin said. "They get 67 and we get 52."

Idaho continues the road trip on Saturday at UT Arlington, which is 8-7 overall and 3-3 in WAC play after taking a 61-44 home loss to Seattle U on Thursday.

Game Notes:

-       Kyle Barone shot a career-best 11-of-12 (.917) from the free throw line in the game. The 11 made free throws are tied for the most by a WAC player this season.

-       Connor Hill is now four-of-four on four-point play opportunities this season, which leads the NCAA. He is one of just two players (Xavier Munford, Rhode Island) to convert multiple four-point plays this year.

-       Idaho's eight assists tied a season low. It was the third-consecutive game in which Idaho tallied eight assists.

-       The four teams that have beaten Idaho in its four-game losing streak are ranked first through fourth in current WAC standings.

 

Previous Story: RUSTON, La. (AP) - Kenneth Smith scored 22 points and Raheem Appleby had 20 to lead Louisiana Tech to a 72-66 victory over Idaho in a Western Athletic Conference game on Thursday night, the Bulldogs Kenneth Smith scored 22 points and Raheem Appleby had 20 to lead Louisiana Tech to a 72-66 victory over Idaho in a Western Athletic Conference game on Thursday night, the Bulldogs' seventh straight win.
 
Kenyon McNeail had 13 points for the Bulldogs (15-3, 5-0), who scored 33 points off Idaho's 23 turnovers. Louisiana Tech had 10 turnovers.
 
Stephen Madison had 21 points and eight rebounds, and Kyle Barone scored 19 for the Vandals (6-10, 2-4).
 
Trailing 30-25 at halftime, the Bulldogs pulled ahead 39-38 on Appleby's 3-pointer with 13:15 to go. Idaho grabbed the lead back with a 13-5 run that included a four-point play by Connor Hill and a 3-point play by Stephen Madison, going ahead 51-44 with 10:26 to play.
 
The Bulldogs tied it at 56 on Appleby's layup with 5:48 left and led 68-63 with 30 seconds remaining with the help two of 3-pointers from McNeail. seventh straight win.
 
Kenyon McNeail had 13 points for the Bulldogs (15-3, 5-0), who scored 33 points off Idaho's 23 turnovers. Louisiana Tech had 10 turnovers.
 
Stephen Madison had 21 points and eight rebounds, and Kyle Barone scored 19 for the Vandals (6-10, 2-4).
 
Trailing 30-25 at halftime, the Bulldogs pulled ahead 39-38 on Appleby's 3-pointer with 13:15 to go. Idaho grabbed the lead back with a 13-5 run that included a four-point play by Connor Hill and a 3-point play by Stephen Madison, going ahead 51-44 with 10:26 to play.
 
The Bulldogs tied it at 56 on Appleby's layup with 5:48 left and led 68-63 with 30 seconds remaining with the help two of 3-pointers from McNeail.

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