February 3, 2011 in Sports

Vandals blow lead, lose in 2 overtimes

By The Spokesman-Review

MOSCOW, Idaho – Last time they played at home, the Idaho Vandals pleaded with officials for a video review late in a controversial loss to Boise State. It never came.

Turns out, after Thursday night, they probably wish video monitors would be banished from Cowan Spectrum altogether.

An intentional foul on Brandon Wiley with 23 seconds left – called after the fact when the referees looked at the video – helped San Jose State force overtime. And the Spartans went on to stun the Vandals 92-89 in a two-overtime men’s basketball thriller in front of 1,088 fans.

Idaho (12-10, 5-5 in the WAC) lost a grip on a 10-point lead with 1:58 left in regulation and five-point lead in the first OT to stumble for the fourth straight time. It had won six straight before that.

“I thought we had that one in the bag,” UI’s Shawn Henderson said. “But it’s like Coach (Don Verlin) preaches to us when we’re down: You can’t give up till the buzzer. We let up a little bit and ended up losing.”

The Vandals were up by eight, 66-58, with just over a minute remaining when things unraveled. After San Jose State’s Wil Carter hit a shot in the lane, Jeff Ledbetter had the ball poked away by Keith Shamburger, who converted a three-point play on the other end.

Nursing a 66-63 lead with 25 seconds left, Idaho was working the ball around the perimeter when Brandon Wiley, guarded tightly by Carter, raised his elbows above his shoulders to protect the ball. As Verlin called a timeout, Wiley sideswiped the Spartans forward across the chin.

SJSU coach George Nessman protested and the officials, who went to the sideline to look at the play, called an intentional foul on Wiley.

Carter missed both free throws, but Justin Graham splashed in a deep 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to tie the game and force overtime.

“It was a good call,” Wiley said. “… I didn’t mean to (hit Carter). I didn’t intend to. I was just trying to clear space.”

In the first overtime, the Vandals were on the other side of a review and intentional foul call – this one on SJSU’s Matt Ballard. But they still couldn’t hold on to a 79-74 lead with 2:02 remaining.

Shamburger drilled a long 3-pointer with 11 seconds left to tie the game at 81. Kyle Barone then missed a long jumper at the buzzer.

Then, late in the last overtime, the Vandals failed to come up with points on their last two possessions and couldn’t get a foul called in time to stop the clock after a second miss.

Backup point guard Landon Tatum missed a heave just inside the halfcourt line at the buzzer. It was his first 3-point attempt of the season, and it nearly went in.

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