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Vandals Find Route To Victory Idaho’s Win Puts An End To Woes On The Road

Fri., Jan. 16, 1998

It would be difficult for the University of Idaho to find a better time to snap its eight-game road losing streak.

Not only did Thursday night’s 76-73 victory over Cal State Fullerton end that dismal run, it pushed the Vandals, picked last in the preseason polls, to the top of the Big West Conference men’s basketball standings.

Off to its best start since 1993-94, Idaho (9-4 overall, 3-0 Big West) joins Eastern Division rival Utah State as one of only two teams unbeaten in conference action.

“That was a great win,” Idaho coach David Farrar said. “I would expect our team to be as good on the road as they are at home, knowing full well that isn’t always going to be the case.”

In the early going, the Vandals - winners by 29 and 27 points last weekend at home - looked like they just might be just as good on the road. They raced to leads of as many as 15 points in the first half before an Ice Harmony-led drive fueled the Titans.

Idaho’s 1-of-16 shooting streak from the field that started late in the first half and didn’t end until well into the second allowed Fullerton to recover from being down 10 to being up by 10.

Then the Vandals’ Clifford Gray went to work inside. Gray worked his way inside for clutch rebounds and field goals that slowly pulled Idaho back into contention. With 4:02 to play, his follow shot tied the game at 69. He followed with another inside shot to put the Vandals ahead 71-69, giving them their first lead since 16:17 remained in the second half.

A tug-of-war for the lead ensued before Idaho finally scored five of the game’s last seven points to secure the crucial road victory.

“It’s the same in almost every league,” Farrar said of the difficulty of road victories. “It’s just so even and the preparation is so great. Everyone knows what you’re doing so it comes down to execution and preparation.”

There were moments of deja vu to haunt the Vandals during that near-scoreless stretch that extended from 5:33 of the first until 15:04 of the second - a span during which they scored just 10 points and bore flashes of their early days of disjointedness.

“We didn’t execute offensively as well tonight,” Farrar said.

But they executed well enough.

“We were really good early and we were good enough late,” Farrar said.

For the fifth successive game, guard Avery Curry led the Vandals, this time with 23 points. Gray finished with 21 and Cameron Banks had 16. Four players - Gray, Curry, Troy Thompson and Mao Tosi - had five rebounds each.

Idaho is at UC Irvine for a Saturday night game against the Anteaters (5-8, 21-). Irvine defeated Boise State 65-63 Thursday night.

Idaho 76, Cal State Fullerton 73

Idaho (9-4) - Gray 8-12 5-6 21, tosi 2-4 0-0 4, Baumann 1-4 0-0 3, Curry 7-17 7-8 23, Banks 6-9 4-4 16, Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Toal 0-1 0-1 0, Thompson 2-4 0-0 4, Byrne 1-3 1-1 3, Hampton 1-1 0-2 2. Totals 28-55 17-22 76.

Cal State Fullerton (6-7) - Cunningham 2-2 0-0 5, Richardson 0-1 0-0 0, Caldwell 0-2 2-2 2, Dade 6-12 7-8 21, St. Clair 2-7 3-4 9, Plock 0-1 0-0 0, Harmon 10-14 3-4 23, Jarrett 1-4 0-0 3, Sanders 1-2 0-1 2, Whitehead 4-8 0-0 8. Totals 26-53 15-19 73.

Halftime-Idaho 41, Cal St.-Fullerton 33. 3-Point goals-Idaho 3-10 (Curry 2-5, Baumann 1-3, Banks 0-1, Toal 0-1), Cal St.-Fullerton 6-13 (Dade 2-4, St. Clair 2-5, Cunningham 1-1, Jarrett 1-1, Harmon 0-2). Fouled out-Richardson. Rebounds-Idaho 35 (Gray, Tosi, Curry, Thompson 5), Cal St.-Fullerton 26 (Harmon 8). Assists-Idaho 11 (Curry 8), Cal St.-Fullerton 6 (Dade, St. Clair 2). Total fouls-Idaho 19, Cal St.Fullerton 20. A-1,032.

, DataTimes

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