Courtesy: Loren Orr
Stephen Madison
Vandals stumble at Northridge
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 12/22/2013
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NORTHRIDGE, Calif. – The Idaho men’s basketball team overcame an 11-point first-half deficit to take the lead on two occasions in the second half, but CSU Northridge gained the advantage down the stretch en route to a 79-69 victory on Sunday evening.

“They out-toughed us, no question about it,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said. “They ended up outrebounding us by 14, and that’s a margin you just can’t overcome on the road. We had a number of opportunities around the rim that we just couldn’t finish. I didn’t think our guys paid enough attention to the details tonight.”

Idaho falls to 6-7 on the season with the loss, while Northridge improves to 7-5. The Vandals will get another stab at the Matadors this season, as Northridge makes a return trip to Moscow for a Feb. 18 contest.

The Vandals trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half and nine in the second, but a 10-0 run that lasted 4:26 gave Idaho a 61-59 lead with 5:39 to play. The teams traded baskets until it was tied 65-65, but that’s when Northridge used a 7-0 run to take the lead for good on the way to the 79-69 win.

Northridge got 15 points and 11 rebounds – including five offensive boards – from Stephen Maxwell, who went 6-of-9 from the field in the game.

“I didn’t think we competed hard enough on him,” Verlin said of containing Maxwell. “He came up with a number of big rebounds. We did a terrible job on him in the first half. We’ve gotten a lot better in the preseason, but the one thing we regressed in tonight was paying attention to the details and the scouting report.”

Four Vandal players scored in double figures for the second consecutive game, led by 17 points from senior Stephen Madison. Madison added a team-high eight rebounds and four assists for the Vandals. Junior Connor Hill added 12 points for Idaho, Sekou Wiggs scored 11 off the bench and Glen Dean added 10 points, all in the second half. Mike Scott added nine points off the bench for the Vandals.

Idaho was dominated on the glass, being outrebounded 47-33 by the Matadors. CSUN also out-shot Idaho from the field, holding the Vandals to 39 percent shooting (25-of-64) while connecting on 44 percent (28-of-63) of their shots.

The Vandals did take care of the basketball, turning it over just five times while Northridge gave it up eight times, but the Matadors owned a 9-2 advantage in points off turnovers.

Idaho will return to action on Dec. 28 when Montana visits the Cowan Spectrum in the tail end of a home-and-home. The Grizzlies topped Idaho 69-58 in Missoula, Mont., on Dec. 11. Tip off of that game will be at 1 p.m. (PT).

“What we’ve got to do against Montana is do a lot better job on their three main perimeter guys,” Verlin said.

The Vandals will open up Western Athletic Conference play on Jan. 2 against Kansas City before hosting Chicago State on Jan. 4.

“We’ve got five of our next seven games at home,” Verlin said. “We have gotten better and as we move into conference play I think you’re going to see this team play some good basketball.”

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