RUSTON, La. – Helped by a season-high 32-of-41 effort from the free-throw line, Louisiana Tech defeated Idaho 72-64 in Western Athletic Conference men’s basketball Saturday night.
Tech’s win came despite foul trouble during much of the second half. Tech (4-18, 1-9) forced a season-high 27 turnovers by Idaho while committing 11.
Tech led 32-24 at the half, helped in part by 15-of-18 free-throw shooting.
In the second half, Idaho (5-17, 2-9) went on a 7-0 run, and came to within three points early in the period. Tech answered with a 7-0 run to go up 43-33 with less than 10 minutes to play.
The Bulldogs were in control the rest of the way, shooting 55 percent from the field in the half and hitting 17 free throws to fend off a flurry of Idaho jumpers.
Jonathan “JC” Clark guided Tech with 16 points.
Michael Crowell led Idaho with 13 points and six rebounds.
Also for the Vandals, Terrence Simmons scored 12 points and dished out six assists off the bench and Mike Hall chipped in 11 points. Jordan Brooks scored nine points and grabbed 13 rebounds before fouling out and Darin Nagle scored nine points in 13 minutes after getting into early foul trouble.
The Vandals are 0-11 on the road this season.
Idaho missed 10 free throws in the first half and finished 15 of 26.
Idaho began the game with four turnovers before its first basket, but the Vandals used a 7-0 run to build a 7-4 advantage after 4 minutes.
Tech responded with a 9-0 run before the teams went scoreless for nearly 3 minutes.
In the first 11 minutes, the Vandals compiled 12 turnovers and 10 points.
Idaho pulled within one on two occasions, but Tech built a 22-14 advantage with 5:13 to play in the first half. The margin later grew to nine twice before halftime.
Tech went up by 10 early in the second half, but Idaho used its 7-0 run to pull within 34-31 and later trailed 36-33 with 11:48 to play.
The Bulldogs regained a double-digit margin (45-35) with 8:47 remaining, but Idaho cut into the lead to make the score 47-43 with 6 minutes left.
The Bulldogs steadily increased their lead to as many as 12 points with 1:51 remaining. Idaho trailed by eight with 2:19 remaining before being forced to foul.
Tech hit 16 of 20 free throws in the final 2:14 to hold on for the victory.
Idaho returns home for a 7:05 p.m. Thursday game against Fresno State.