February 9, 2011 in Sports

Vandals upset nationallly ranked Utah State

By Correspondent
Dean Hare photo

Utah State guard Tyler Newbold, left, and forward Brady Jardine (22) surround Idaho forward Stephen Madison (34) as he looks for a passing lane during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011, in Moscow, Idaho.
(Full-size photo)

MOSCOW, Idaho – They couldn’t be sure until the final 11 seconds. But once Brockeith Pane’s jumper sailed into the stands, ending a tumultuous shooting night for Utah State, Idaho fans unleashed a deafening roar.

Then came a court-storming that Cowan Spectrum hasn’t seen in years.

Playing on national television against the WAC’s powerhouse men’s basketball program, the Vandals sprang a 64-56 upset of the Aggies in front of 1,512.

The loss snapped USU’s 17-game winning streak. The Aggies (22-3, 11-1) had won a conference-record 25 consecutive regular-season WAC games dating back to Jan. 4 of last year.

For the Vandals (14-10, 7-5), this was their first win against such a highly ranked team since March 14, 1982, when they beat 16th-ranked Iowa in the NCAA tournament.

Idaho was led by Jeff Ledbetter’s 14 points. The guard hit two key 3-pointers late in the second half – his only two makes of the game in 12 attempts.

“The coaches just kept telling, ‘If you’re open, fire it,’” Ledbetter said. “I’ve got to jump up and shoot like I’ve made the last five.”

Former Utah State guard Deremy Geiger contributed 12 points and a career-high nine rebounds.

The first-year transfer point guard had five points in the final 2:14 as USU tried to mount a charge.

The Aggies closed within 60-55 with 49 seconds left. But UI made its last four free throws to close out the win.

“What a great win for our program and for our players,” said UI coach Don Verlin, who spent 15 years with Aggies coach Stew Morril at USU and Colorado State.

The Vandals took advantage of an off-kilter performance for Utah State. The Aggies shot just 33 percent from and field and were 5 of 28 from 3-point range.

But Utah State used its inside advantage to snatch 20 offensive rebounds – 10 in the first 12-plus minutes.

The Vandals were much better on the glass in the second half, particularly coming up with crucial offensive boards. Kyle Barone had 12 rebounds, four on offense, to go along with 11 points.

“I thought Kyle Barone played his best game as a Vandal,” Verlin said. “He had some huge offensive rebounds when we were struggling a bit.”

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