Idaho breaks game open after halftime
SAN JOSE, Calif. – Kyle Barone had 16 points and 13 rebounds – his third consecutive double-double – and Idaho pulled away in the second half to defeat San Jose State 64-55 in a Western Athletic Conference men’s basketball game on Thursday night.
Stephen Madison added 15 points and Mike McChristian had 10 for the Vandals (6-6, 2-0), who shot 50 percent.
James Kinney led San Jose State (7-6, 2-1) with 17 points. The Spartans committed just five turnovers but shot 28 percent from the floor, including 3 for 20 on 3-point attempts.
In the first seven minutes of the game, Idaho and San Jose State combined to shoot just 24.1 percent from the floor (7 of 29). Idaho recovered from the slow start early on and finished at .500 (25 of 50), but the Spartans were just 20 of 71 (.282) overall, 3 of 20 from 3-point range.
“You’ve got to give our assistant coaches a congratulatory note and pat on the back there,” Idaho head coach Don Verlin said. “They did a great job with the game plan and our guys went out and did a really nice job of going out there and executing.”
After starting the game shooting 5 of 15 from the floor, the Vandal men made nine of their final 13 shots to end the half with a 33-30 lead. San Jose State went just 12 of 41 from the floor in the first half, but got back 10 points from their 13 offensive rebounds during the period.
Robert Harris opened the second half with a 3-pointer that started a 13-2 Vandals run to make it 46-32. San Jose State got within 53-48 with 8:12 remaining but Idaho scored the next seven points on a pair of Barone free throws, a 3-pointer by McChristian and a layup from Denzel Douglas.
The Vandal men opened up the second half on a 13-2 scoring run to take a 46-32 lead at the 15:31 mark.
Five quick points from the WAC’s leading scorer, SJSU guard James Kinney, trimmed Idaho’s to six points with 1:53 to play, but the Spartans didn’t make another field goal in the game and the Vandals held on.
Next up for the Vandals is Saturday’s road trip to Utah State.
Idaho has never started WAC play with a 3-0 record and hasn’t opened conference play with three straight wins since 1997-98.
Utah State has won 11 consecutive games.