|Men's hoops: 2012-13 in review|
The Idaho men’s basketball team had several highlights during the 2012-13 season, including Kyle Barone earning the program’s first Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year honor, and also picking up honorable mention All-American recognition after a record-breaking career.
The team also got its fifth consecutive senior-night win, and won its BracektBuster game for the fourth time in five years. Idaho had three players average double-figures in scoring and as a team buried 192 3-pointers, two shy of a program top-five. Sophomore Connor Hill hit 87 of those 3s, the third highest single-season total in program history.
Idaho was faced with a challenging schedule from day one, facing four teams who finished over .500 for the season, including three eventual 20-win teams in its first four games. The Vandals went 1-3 in that stretch and fell to 1-4 after a loss at Pac-12 foe Washington State.
Idaho began to turn things around with back-to-back wins over UC Davis and Eastern Washington, which sparked a streak of five wins in seven games, but the Vandals seemingly played the role of heartbreak victim for much of the rest of the season.
More than half of Idaho’s losses in 2012-13, 10 out of 18, came either by two or fewer possessions, or in overtime. Idaho went 0-6 against the WAC’s top three teams and five of those six losses fall into that category. The Vandals lost by a combined total of three points in two regular-season defeats to eventual WAC-champion New Mexico State, and lost second-half leads in both losses to WAC regular-season co-champion Louisiana Tech.
The Vandals appeared to be peaking at the right time, winning three of their last four regular season games, including their last two WAC games, heading into the conference tournament. Idaho finished sixth in the final standings and was matched up against New Mexico State with revenge on its mind. A WAC tournament run was not to be for the Vandals, however, who lost to the Aggies in the quarterfinals end the season.
Barone finished his career as one of the best players in program history. He ranked first in program history with 126 games played, playing in every game of his four-year career. He finished second with 869 career rebounds, third with a .585 career field goal percentage and four with 1,433 career points. In 2012-13 Barone was twice named WAC Player of the Week and was a first-team All-WAC selection. He averaged 17.2 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game, and shot 59.7 percent from the field and 78.2 percent from the free throw line. Barone earned the team’s Ronald White Award, given to the team’s most outstanding basketball player as voted by the team, and shared the team’s Gus Johnson Award as the team’s top defensive player.
Senior guard Mike McChristian, who averaged 8.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game, earned Idaho’s Oz Thompson Award as the player who best inspires sportsmanship, scholarship and leadership, and also received the George Greene Award as the team’s most unselfish player.
Senior Mansa Habeeb was voted as the team’s Jay Gano Award winner for most inspirational player, and also shared the Gus Johnson Award with Barone. Habeeb played in 29 of Idaho’s 30 games, averaging 5.6 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.
Hill, who averaged 12.1 points, 1.9 rebound and 1.2 assists per game, earned Idaho’s Kathy Clark Scholar Award as the player who has matched his athletic achievement with his academic achievement.