Vandal Men Defeat UMKC, Will Meet Again in WAC Quarterfinals - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Vandal Men Defeat UMKC, Will Meet Again in WAC Quarterfinals

Posted:
The Idaho men's basketball team defeated UMKC 87-80 and will meet up again in the WAC Tournament. The Idaho men's basketball team defeated UMKC 87-80 and will meet up again in the WAC Tournament.

by Idaho Athletics Media Relations

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Idaho men’s basketball team overcame a 10-point second-half deficit to pull out a 87-80 win at Kansas City in the regular season finale on Saturday night, and will face the same Kangaroo squad in the Western Athletic quarterfinals on Mar. 13.

The Vandals fell behind by 10, 65-55, then went on a 25-2 second-half run to take the lead for good en route to their fourth win in their final five regular season games.

“I’m really proud of my guys,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said. “We’re playing our best basketball. If this team will make a bigger commitment to defense and rebounding, we’ll have a chance to win the WAC tournament. What happened tonight in that run is we were finally able to get some stops and we got out in our transition game, and that’s where we’re best. When we get going in transition, we’re really tough to guard.”

The Vandals shot 51 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range in the game, and owned a 37-30 rebounding advantage. UMKC, however, shot the ball a little too well for Verlin’s liking as the teams prepare for a rematch in less than a week, as the ‘Roos hit 30-of-62 shots from the field (48.4 percent) and 11-of-23 3-pointers (47.8 percent).

“The bottom line is we can’t give this team 48 percent from the field and 47 percent from 3 if we expect to win,” he said. “We’ve got to make a commitment to defense and rebounding.”

Idaho will take a 14-17 overall and 7-9 WAC record into the conference tournament. UMKC falls to 10-19 overall and 7-9 in the WAC. Idaho’s win snapped UMKC’s three-game win streak.

Idaho used a strong performance on the glass and a stellar free-throw shooting effort to make its run and hang onto its lead down the stretch. The Vandals hit 22-of-28 free throws in the game, including 21-for-26 in the second half.

Stephen Madison finished with a game-high 26 points on 9-of-17 shooting and added eight rebounds. Connor Hill hit 6-of-10 3-pointers and finished with 24 points and Sekou Wiggs scored exactly 16 points for the sixth time in his last nine games.

The Vandals led by as many as 12 points late in the first half before UMKC used a 20-2 run that bled into the second half as the ‘Roos took control of the game.

“They go on a 20-2 run and that’s just because we’re not defending well enough,” Verlin said. “What’s been our MO this year is when we’re not scoring our ball with ease, we don’t want to defend on the ether end.”

The Vandals will be the No. 5 seed in next week’s tournament as UMKC holds the tie-breaker with identical 7-9 league records. The winner of Thursday’s quarterfinal game will take on the winner of No. 1 Utah Valley and No. 8 Texas-Pan American.

“I’m really proud of our guys,” Verlin said. “They did a lot of really good things and they’re really coming together. We’re peaking at the right time and guys have hung tough all year long. These last four or five weeks we’ve played some good basketball. I really think we’re getting better and I really like where this team is at heading into the conference tournament.”

  • College SportsCollegeMore>>

  • WSU Football Announces 2015 Schedule

    WSU Football Announces 2015 Schedule

    The Pac-12 Conference has released its 2015 schedule and Washington State will host four conference games in Martin Stadium and open the season with a home contest against Portland State. The schedule includes six home games for the second-straight season along with the Homecoming Weekend game against Oregon State.>>
    The Pac-12 Conference has released its 2015 schedule and Washington State will host four conference games in Martin Stadium and open the season with a home contest against Portland State. The schedule includes six home games for the second-straight season along with the Homecoming Weekend game against Oregon State.>>
  • No. 2 EWU Football Headed To Bozeman Battle With No. 14 MSU

    No. 2 EWU Football Headed To Bozeman Battle With No. 14 MSU

    It's been more than 25 years since the Eastern Washington University versus Montana State football game didn't count in the Big Sky Conference standings.But that doesn't lessen the importance of this week's game when the No. 2 Eagles battle the No. 14 Bobcats in Bozeman, Mont., on Saturday, Sept. 20.>>
    It's been more than 25 years since the Eastern Washington University versus Montana State football game didn't count in the Big Sky Conference standings.But that doesn't lessen the importance of this week's game when the No. 2 Eagles battle the No. 14 Bobcats in Bozeman, Mont., on Saturday, Sept. 20.
    >>
  • SLIDESHOW: WSU vs. Portland State

    SLIDESHOW: WSU vs. Portland State

    SWXRightNow.com -- Check out these pictures from Washington State's big 59-21 win over Portalnd State on Saturday, Sept. 13.>>
    SWXRightNow.com -- Check out these pictures from Washington State's big 59-21 win over Portalnd State on Saturday, Sept. 13.>>
  • IdahoIdahoMore>>

  • Idaho Falls To WMU, 45-33

    Idaho Falls To WMU, 45-33

    Despite 362 yards on 27-of-41 passing by Matt Linehan and 153 all-purpose yards by Richard Montgomery, the Idaho Vandals couldn't overcome Western Michigan, losing 45-33 in a non-conference football game at the Kibbie Dome Saturday night.>>
    Despite 362 yards on 27-of-41 passing by Matt Linehan and 153 all-purpose yards by Richard Montgomery, the Idaho Vandals couldn't overcome Western Michigan, losing 45-33 in a non-conference football game at the Kibbie Dome Saturday night.>>
  • Vandals Fall To UL Monroe 38-31

    Vandals Fall To UL Monroe 38-31

    There was thunder and lightning and heartbreak in Louisiana Saturday night for the Idaho Vandals, who lost, 38-31, in the final seconds to Louisiana-Monroe in their season and Sun Belt Conference opener.>>
    There was thunder and lightning and heartbreak in Louisiana Saturday night for the Idaho Vandals, who lost, 38-31, in the final seconds to Louisiana-Monroe in their season and Sun Belt Conference opener.>>
  • Vandals Vs. Florida Not Rescheduled, Will Play In 2017

    Vandals Vs. Florida Not Rescheduled, Will Play In 2017

    University of Florida Athletics Director Jeremy Foley and University of Idaho Athletics Director Rob Spear have agreed that Saturday night's game has been declared a no contest and that not rescheduling the game is the only viable option for both programs.>>
    University of Florida Athletics Director Jeremy Foley and University of Idaho Athletics Director Rob Spear have agreed that Saturday night's game has been declared a no contest and that not rescheduling the game is the only viable option for both programs.>>