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Idaho holds off Eastern Washington

by From news services
| November 28, 2010 8:00 PM

CHENEY - After managing just six baskets on Monday at Montana, Idaho drained 11 3-pointers and scored the game's last 10 points in a 70-60 victory over Eastern Washington on Saturday in nonconference men's basketball action before 1,001 at Reese Court.

Eastern Washington (1-4) ran a 2-3 zone most of the afternoon and dared Idaho (2-3) to shoot the ball. The Vandals obliged with season-highs of 11 made 3-pointers and 21 assists in an effective offensive effort.

"I was really proud of our guys bouncing back and playing hard tonight, and playing together all night long," Idaho coach Don Verlin said. "(EWU) zoned us all night long and we had to shoot a lot of 3s, and we were very fortunate to make a bunch of them."

Idaho opened the second half on a 10-0 run to give the Vandals their largest lead of the game at 47-30, but Eastern clawed its way back over the next 12 minutes, largely on the back of Kevin Winford, who set a school record with eight 3-pointers en route to his career-high 28 points.

“You’ve got to take your cap off to that young man,” Verlin said of Winford. “He just had an unbelievable game. He willed them back into the game.”

After EWU’s Jeffrey Forbes hit a 3-pointer with 5:10 left to tie the game at 60-60, the Vandals held the Eagles without a field goal for the remainder of the game. Back-to-back 3s by senior Jeff Ledbetter and junior Deremy Geiger put the Vandals back up 66-60, then Geiger sank four free throws in the final minute to ice the win.

“When it came time to make stops late in the game, we did it,” Verlin said.

Geiger led Idaho with a career-high 24 points on 7-of-14 shooting and a 5-of-9 performance from 3-point range. Ledbetter added 15 points, all from the 3-point arc, as well as four rebounds and four assists. North Idaho College transfer Shawn Henderson set a career high with 14 rebounds, eight on the offensive end.

Short-handed again, the Eagles played the game without point guards Glen Dean and Cliff Colimon, as well as forward Rashano McCrae. Colimon (ankle) and McCrae (concussion) suffered their injuries in practice, while Dean has a stress fracture in his foot and will be re-evaluated on Dec. 6.

“I was really happy and proud of our players,” Eastern coach Kirk Earlywine said of his team’s comeback. “We were guarding, rebounding and making smart adjustments in our zone on the fly. Our guys were doing that on the floor without direction from the bench. That was encouraging.”

Idaho missed eight of its first nine shots and finished 25 of 60 (41.7 percent) from the floor, including 11 of 23 (.478) from downtown and 9 of 14 (.643) from the free throw line. Eastern Washington was 22 of 60 (.361) from the floor and 10 of 25 (.400) from 3-point range.

“In the first half, when we were 1 for 9, we had a number of shots right next to the basket, we just didn’t finish,” Verlin said. “I told them a couple times in the huddle, ‘We’re getting good shots, now let’s knock them down,’ and that was the key tonight.”

EWU plays at Gonzaga on Tuesday.

Idaho returns home to host its first regular-season tournament in 21 years. North Dakota, Monmouth and Eastern Washington will come to Moscow for the Basketball Travelers, Inc. (BTI) Classic on Friday through Sunday.

IDAHO (2-3)

Henderson 2-11 2-2 6, Wiley 2-4 0-1 4, Toledo 4-10 1-4 9, Ledbetter 5-9 0-0 15, Geiger 7-14 5-5 24, Tatum 0-2 0-0 0, Barone 4-6 1-2 9, Madison 1-4 0-0 3. Totals 25-60 9-14 70.

E. WASHINGTON (0-4)

Johnson 3-13 0-0 6, Ederaine 3-10 0-1 6, Griffin 2-5 1-3 5, Forbes 3-7 2-2 10, Winford 9-20 2-2 28, Brown 1-3 1-1 3, Allen 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 22-61 6-9 60.

Halftime_Idaho 37-30. 3-Point Goals_Idaho 11-23 (Ledbetter 5-8, Geiger 5-9, Madison 1-3, Henderson 0-3), E. Washington 10-25 (Winford 8-16, Forbes 2-5, Allen 0-1, Johnson 0-3). Fouled Out_None. Rebounds_Idaho 41 (Henderson 14), E. Washington 36 (Griffin 9). Assists_Idaho 21 (Geiger, Ledbetter, Tatum 4), E. Washington 16 (Forbes 5). Total Fouls_Idaho 11, E. Washington 13. A_1,001.

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