Men fall to La Tech in WAC quarterfinals
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 03/12/2009
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RENO, Nevada Louisiana Tech used 3-pointers to build a lead and free throws to finish off the University of Idaho men’s basketball team as the sixth-seeded Bulldogs defeated third-seeded Idaho 70-62 in the quarterfinal round of the Western Athletic Conference tournament Thursday.


The Bulldogs (15-17) hit 7-of-10 3-pointers in the first half to build a 31-27 advantage at the half and 20-of-25 free throws in the second half to end the season for the Vandals (16-15).


“I’ve got to give Louisiana Tech credit tonight. They did a great job with their game plan. They obviously outrebounded us. The thing I was most impressed with La Tech was how well they shot the basketball tonight,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said.


Mac Hopson led the Vandals with 16 points and added eight assists and zero turnovers in 35 minutes. Marvin Jefferson finished with 15 points and three blocks, Trevor Morris scored nine points on three 3-pointers, and Luciano de Souza finished with eight points before fouling out.


The 3-point barrage started early as Kyle Gibson hit his first four attempts. The half saw four ties and two lead changes and Louisiana Tech connected on 12-of-24 field goal attempts. Idaho gained a lead at 8-5 with 13:20 remaining and the Vandals later led 10-8 before a 7-0 run put the Bulldogs ahead 15-10 at the 9:05 mark. The Vandals were shooting 4-of-15 from the floor at that point. Gibson connected on his fourth 3-pointer to give Louisiana Tech an 18-12 lead at the 7:35 mark and the Bulldogs would lead by six on two other occasions before Idaho cut the halftime margin to four.


Louisiana Tech moved ahead by six on three occasions to open the second half, but Idaho scored on its first four possessions and cut the margin to 37-35 at the 16:27 mark. At that point, the Bulldogs opened the game up with a 9-0 run to move ahead 46-35 with 13:38 remaining. Morris ended the run with a 3-pointer, but Louisiana Tech pushed the margin to its largest at 12 on two occasions. Idaho used a 12-5 run to pull within 57-52 at the 4:49 mark and later trailed 60-55 at the 3:29 mark, but it was the closest the Vandals would come as the Bulldogs scored 15 of their final 17 points at the free throw line.


The Vandals hit 19-of-45 (.422) shots from the floor and 18-of-20 (.900) from the free throw line. The Bulldogs hit 21-of-39 (.538) field goals and finished 8-of-12 (.667) from the 3-point line.


Idaho’s 16-15 overall record is its best season since 1998-99.

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