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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

UI earns win over Fullerton

MOSCOW, Idaho – University of Idaho men’s basketball coach Leonard Perry was worn out when he entered the interview room Saturday night.

The game was partially responsible. His Vandals overcame shaky free-throw shooting and talented Cal State Fullerton to post a hard-earned 61-58 Big West Conference victory in front of 2,438 spirited fans at the Cowan Spectrum.

The postgame was even more taxing.

“They made me do some kind of dance in the locker room,” Perry said. “That’s the best workout I’ve had in 10 years.”

Made him?

“Nah, he told me to turn the music on,” freshman guard Jerod Haynes said.

“We were just doing a little victory dance,” guard Tanoris Shepard said. “He blended in well. I think he’s in his prime again.”

Perhaps Perry had some energy to burn off after watching his team do an impressive job of keeping the game at a slow-dance pace. That’s not easy to do against the Titans, who lead the conference in scoring.

Per usual, Idaho played adhesive defense, scrapped diligently on the boards and needed some late-game heroics to hold on. Idaho, after a 1-8 start, has hiked its record to 7-11 overall, 5-2 in the Big West. CS Fullerton dropped to 8-7, 3-4.

The issue was in doubt as the lead changed hands six times in a 4-minute span before UI senior wing Dandrick Jones connected from 10 feet for a 53-52 advantage with 3:32 remaining.

Shepard continued his habit of making key 3-pointers with a trey from the corner as Idaho led 56-52. Ralphy Holmes, one of several bouncy Titans who could create off the dribble, hit a tough jumper with Jones glued to his body, but Jones answered with a putback, made possible by center Lionel Davis hustling to keep the rebound alive.

Yaphett King’s jumper trimmed Idaho’s lead to 58-56, but the Titans were forced to foul as the clock ticked below 30 seconds. That didn’t exactly comfort Vandal faithful, who had seen Idaho miss foul shots at an alarming rate. Jones, who entered the game at 80 percent in conference games, was just 3 of 7 and Davis was 1 of 6 as Idaho finished 10 of 24 at the stripe.

The Titans, though, made the mistake of fouling Haynes, who leads Idaho in free-throw percentage (82.4). King offered some unsolicited advice to the 19-year-old Haynes.

“He said, ‘If you miss, it’s over,’ ” Haynes said. “I said, ‘Well, if I don’t, then what?’ “

Haynes coolly made both, but the Vandals weren’t home free. Holmes’ tip-in narrowed Idaho’s advantage to two and Shepard made just 1 of 2 free throws with 17.2 seconds left.

Holmes misfired on a 3 and King missed a follow before Davis hauled down his 13th rebound. Shepard went to the line with 4.3 seconds left, but clanked both. The Titans hurried down court, but Jermaine Harper’s shot from 28 feet came up short.

“I don’t have any excuses,” said Shepard, who otherwise had a productive night with 12 points and five assists. “I just missed them. I’m definitely going to be in the gym working on them.”

Jones paced the Vandals with 18 points. Lyons had 11 points and 11 rebounds. Haynes picked off seven rebounds to go with nine points.

Holmes scored 17 points, but needed 22 field-goal attempts. Bobby Brown, the leading scorer in the conference, added 14 points, but made just 5 of 16 tries. CSF shot 33.3 percent.

The Titans lost some of their rebounding prowess when senior Hardy Asprilla went down with a season-ending knee injury last week.

Idaho 61, Cal State Fullerton 58

Cal State Fullerton (8-7, 3-4)—King 4-10 1-2 9, B.Brown 5-16 2-2 14, Harper 1-3 0-0 3, Holmes 8-22 0-1 17, J.Brown 1-9, 0-0 2, Burns 1-4 0-2 2, Clemmons 1-2 0-0 2, Cottrell 2-4 0-0 6, Quinet 1-2 1-1 3. Totals 24-72 4-8 58.

Idaho (7-11, 5-2)—Jones 7-15 3-7 18, Haynes 2-5 4-4 9, Shepard 4-13 1-4 12, Lyons 5-13 1-2 11, Davis 0-1 1-6 1, Higdon 0-0 0-0 0, Johnson 1-2 0-1 2, Kahrimanovic 2-4 0-0 6, Anderson 0-0 0-0 0, Kale 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 22-54 10-24 61.

Halftime—Cal State Fullerton 26, Idaho 23. 3-point goals—Cal State Fullerton 6-20 (Cottrell 2-3, B.Brown 2-7, Harper 1-3, Holmes 1-4, King 0-3), Idaho 7-17 (Shepard 3-7, Kahrimanovic 2-4, Jones 1-2, Haynes 1-4). Fouled out—None. Rebounds—Cal State Fullerton 45 (Holmes 13), Idaho 46 (Davis 13). Assists—Cal State Fullerton 5 (B.Brown 3), Idaho 11 (Shepard 5). Total fouls—Cal State Fullerton 19, Idaho 9. A—2,438.

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