Vandal Men Fall in WAC Championship - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Vandal Men Fall in WAC Championship

Posted:

by Idaho Athletics Media Relations

LAS VEGAS – The Idaho men’s basketball team was simply overmatched in a 77-55 loss to New Mexico State in the Western Athletic Conference championship game on Saturday night.

The Aggies shot 56 percent from the field, 46 percent from 3-point range, owned a 38-21 rebounding advantage and held Idaho shooters to 38 percent to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament.

“We played pretty well in this tournament but tonight New Mexico State played better,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said after his fifth-seeded Vandals got their first WAC tournament win since 2007 then knocked off the tournament’s top seed in the previous 48 hours. “We couldn’t get them stopped. They basically dominated us in every phase of the game. You have to give Marvin [Menzies], Daniel Mullings a lot of credit.”

New Mexico State outscored Idaho 46-16 in the paint, and used five 3-pointers to keep the Vandals honest on the perimeter.

“They really hurt us driving the ball to the basket,” Verlin said. “We couldn’t keep them in front of us. Early in the game they made some 3-point shots. If they have a weakness it’s shooting behind the arc, and they were able to make those and we had to extend a little bit, and then they were able to get to the basket.”

Idaho senior Stephen Madison, the program’s second all-time leading scorer, led the Vandals with 17 points after going 10-for-12 at the free throw line. Junior point guard Mike Scott added 14 points for the Vandals.

“We have a great group of guys in the locker room,” Verlin said. “Stephen Madison has been sitting next to me here for three nights now, and what a great career he has had. It’s always hard when it ends, especially for a guy like this who has had an unbelievable career here at the University of Idaho, our second all-time leading scorer.”

Idaho caught fire at the end of the season, winning eight of its final 11 games heading into its first conference championship game since 1993. The Vandals were 8-14 entering that stretch before finishing their season at 16-18.

“Our team battled,” Verlin said. “There was a point this season where we could have given up, and we didn’t. The last month of the season we were playing as good of basketball as anyone in the Western Athletic Conference.”

New Mexico State will enter the NCAA tournament with a 26-9 overall record.

  • College SportsCollegeMore>>

  • Former Coug Motum Signs With Jazz, Kent To Toss M's First Pitch

    Former Coug Motum Signs With Jazz, Kent To Toss M's First Pitch

    Former Washington State University men's basketball standout, Brock Motum, has signed with the Utah Jazz as a free agent, the organization announced Tuesday. Also, Cougar head basketball coach Ernie Kent will throw the ceremonial first pitch at the Mariners game later this week.>>
    Former Washington State University men's basketball standout, Brock Motum, has signed with the Utah Jazz as a free agent, the organization announced Tuesday. Also, Cougar head basketball coach Ernie Kent will throw the ceremonial first pitch at the Mariners game later this week.
    >>
  • Pippins OF Vince Fernandez Named West Coast League MVP

    Pippins OF Vince Fernandez Named West Coast League MVP

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 3:17 PM EDT2014-08-26 19:17:48 GMT
    After a record-setting summer with the Yakima Valley Pippins, Vince Fernandez was honored by the West Coast League Tuesday as the league’s most valuable player, the first player from an expansion team to garner this accolade in WCL history.>>
    After a record-setting summer with the Yakima Valley Pippins, Vince Fernandez was honored by the West Coast League Tuesday as the league’s most valuable player, the first player from an expansion team to garner this accolade in WCL history.>>
  • EWU Tops Bearkats To Open The College Football Season

    EWU Tops Bearkats To Open The College Football Season

    Eastern Washington earned the right to host the first college football game of the 2014 season as one of the premier power houses in the FCS. The ever-growing program capitalized with a big 56-35 win over long-time nemesis Sam Houston State on the Inferno at Roos Field on Saturday.>>
    Eastern Washington earned the right to host the first college football game of the 2014 season as one of the premier power houses in the FCS. The ever-growing program capitalized with a big 56-35 win over long-time nemesis Sam Houston State on the Inferno at Roos Field on Saturday. >>
  • IdahoIdahoMore>>

  • Vandals Defense Shines In Second Scrimmage

    Vandals Defense Shines In Second Scrimmage

    The Vandal defense created five turnovers and recorded nine sacks while the offense scored 12 touchdowns and two field goals, leaving Idaho head coach Paul Petrino feeling like his team is more consistent on both sides of the football after Idaho’s second fall scrimmage on Saturday.>>
    The Vandal defense created five turnovers and recorded nine sacks while the offense scored 12 touchdowns and two field goals, leaving Idaho head coach Paul Petrino feeling like his team is more consistent on both sides of the football after Idaho’s second fall scrimmage on Saturday.>>
  • Idaho Named No. 3, EWU No. 7 In Preseason Big Sky Volleyball Poll

    Idaho Named No. 3, EWU No. 7 In Preseason Big Sky Volleyball Poll

    In a vote by the league's head volleyball coaches, Idaho State and Northern Arizona were selected as co-favorites to win the 2014 Big Sky Conference title.>>
    In a vote by the league's head volleyball coaches, Idaho State and Northern Arizona were selected as co-favorites to win the 2014 Big Sky Conference title.>>
  • Petrino Runs 160 Plays In Idaho's First Scrimmage

    Petrino Runs 160 Plays In Idaho's First Scrimmage

    Saturday, August 9 2014 5:53 PM EDT2014-08-09 21:53:04 GMT
    There may have been ups and downs during the University of Idaho's first scrimmage of the fall but there are some aspects that, no matter the moment, are improved – speed, talent and depth.>>
    There may have been ups and downs during the University of Idaho's first scrimmage of the fall but there are some aspects that, no matter the moment, are improved – speed, talent and depth.
    >>