BOISE — Luciano De Souza gave Idaho a boost early and the Vandals never looked back, beating Boise State 79-55 Saturday night, the biggest Vandal margin in the 40-year history of the rivalry.
De Souza came off the bench to tie a career high with 16 points, including four 3-pointers that helped Idaho (11-11, 3-7 Western Athletic) take control with a 25-3 run during a seven-minute span midway through the first half.
The victory topped a 97-74 Idaho win in 1975 and avenged a 77-66 overtime loss to the Broncos (11-12, 2-8) in Moscow two weeks ago.
“No question him coming in and making some shots was a lift,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said of the sophomore forward from Brazil. “He hasn’t shot it very well lately and we got him some open looks and he knocked them down tonight.”
The Vandals also got 12 points from Kashif Watson and 11 points apiece from Mac Hopson and Luiz Toledo. Toledo also led the team with seven rebounds.
Idaho shot well the entire game, hitting 56 percent from the floor and 10-of-20 from behind the 3-point line.
But the Broncos also helped the Vandal cause.
Daequon Montreal led the Broncos with 16 points and La’Shard Anderson had 12 points, the only two Broncos with double figures in scoring.
Boise State committed 19 turnovers, with 14 of those coming in the first half as Idaho built a 45-19 lead by intermission.
The Broncos had won two straight coming into the game, but were sluggish and careless with the ball early, and then failed to shut down the Vandal offense, dimming any hopes of cutting into the double-digit lead. Montreal’s baseline jumper at 7:51 brought Boise State within 19 points, but the Vandals answered with a 10-5 run over the next three minutes.
The Broncos shot 45.2 percent from the field and made just 4-of-14 3-point attempts in losing at home to Idaho for the second straight season.
“Just way too many turnovers,” said Boise State coach Greg Graham, who has a 13-3 all-time record against Idaho. “Again, I think we just came to play and they came to get after us and win. They gave it to us early and by the time we woke up and tried to rally back” it was too late.
Idaho dominated in every facet. The Vandals outrebounded the Broncos, the Idaho bench outscored the Boise State reserves 33-14, and cashed in 18 points off of turnovers.
The Vandals have won three of their last four and are beginning to resemble the team that won 17 games last season, the most victories for the school since 1994.
Idaho hosts Nevada Wednesday. Boise State, which has struggled in the second half of the season, at one point losing its first eight WAC games, plays Thursday against Utah State, which started Saturday night tied with Louisiana Tech for first place in the conference.