Idaho gets rare win at Washington State, 77-71
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) Only eight miles separate the Washington State and Idaho campuses, but a huge gap has separated the basketball programs of the two schools in recent years.
The Vandals narrowed that gap Wednesday night by defeating the Cougars 77-71. The Vandals had lost 11 in a row to the Cougars since 2003, and Idaho had dropped 13 straight games in Pullman since a 1989 victory.
''This is going in the books,'' Idaho guard Mike Scott said. ''It's something we'll never forget.''
Scott and backcourt partner Connor Hill both scored 19 points for the Vandals (3-3), who snapped a three-game losing streak. DaVonte Lacy led Washington State (3-4) with 17 points, but the senior guard was one of several Cougars who struggled to hit shots.
''It's very embarrassing to play like we did in front of our fans,'' Lacy said.
The Vandals bolted to a 14-2 lead and, except for brief periods early in the second half, led the rest of the game. The Cougars shot just 35.2 percent from the field and made only 5 of 30 shots from 3-point range (16.7 percent). Lacy went 5 for 18 from the floor, including 3 for 13 on treys.
''I thought Idaho did a really good job on capitalizing on our bad shooting and some mental breakdowns,'' WSU coach Ernie Kent said.
''We're getting open shots,'' Lacy said, ''it's just a matter of us knocking them down.''
The Cougars gave the Vandals plenty of open looks at 3-pointers. Hill, Idaho's all-time leader with 250 3-pointers, sank 5 of 9 shots from beyond the arc.
''I feel like I should have made all my 3's; I had great looks,'' said Hill, a senior guard who turned down a walk-on offer from Washington State out of high school.
The Vandals led 32-31 at the half. A Lacy 3-pointer narrowed Idaho's lead to six before Hill buried a 3 to push Idaho ahead 67-58 with 2:17 left.
''I couldn't stop hugging him (Hill),'' Scott said, ''because I knew it was a big shot.''
The Vandals and Cougars often scrimmage against one another in the summer. Scott said players on the two teams have ''a good relationship,'' but Scott said WSU players have not been shy about reminding the Vandals about their dominance in a series that dates back to 1906.
''All the time,'' Scott said, smiling. ''All the time.''
''It is a big game,'' Idaho coach Don Verlin said. ''You ask my players who their rival is, they're going to tell you Washington State. You ask our fans, they'll tell you Boise State.''
Josh Hawkinson, one of four Cougars who scored in double figures, recorded 16 points and 10 rebounds. Bira Seck had nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds for Idaho.
Idaho: The Vandals and Cougars have played one another 109 consecutive years. The Cougars lead the all-time series 162-108. The only continuous college men's basketball series that have run longer all are in the Ivy League: Columbia-Yale (115 years), Princeton-Yale (115), Pennsylvania-Princeton (114), Columbia-Pennsylvania (113) and Cornell-Pennsylvania (113).
Washington State: The Cougars were picked to finish 11th in the Pac-12 Conference in the preseason media poll. In the Big Sky Conference media poll, the Vandals were pegged for eighth. Both leagues have 12 teams.
Don Verlin owns a 100-99 career record after beating WSU for the first time in seven years as a head coach, all spent at Idaho.
Idaho hosts UC Davis on Saturday.
Washington State hosts Texas-San Antonio on Saturday.