|Second-half woes catch Vandals|
SAN ANTONIO, Texas – The University of Idaho basketball team that shot 53 percent in the first half and led by two at the break disappeared completely in the second half as UT-San Antonio won 74-56 in a Western Athletic Conference game.
Coach Don Verlin, whose team dropped to 10-17 overall and 5-11 in the WAC, was disappointed not only in the outcome but the effort.
“They came out and played with a lot more heart and played a lot harder,” said Verlin of UTSA’s 20-point dominance of the Vandals in the second half. “We had a couple guys that didn’t play very well.”
Offensively, the Vandals were sharp and effective in the first half. While Verlin wasn’t happy with the early defensive effort, Idaho still managed a 40-38 halftime lead with the directive coming out of the break to pick up the defensive intensity.
“I told them to lock it down defensively,” Verlin said. “I thought we were ready to go in the first half. We didn’t sustain that energy and intensity in the second half.”
The Roadrunners did, as they went on an 18-5 run and didn’t let up.
“We just couldn’t get them stopped,” Verlin said. “It’s becoming a broken record. It’s really frustrating.”
Senior guard Mike McChristian had a career night with 19 points off of seven-of-13 shooting (five-of-eight from 3-point range). He was backed by Kyle Barone’s 14th career double-double of 13 points and 15 rebounds. Connor Hill added 10 with eight points coming from Stephen Madison and six from Mansa Habeeb. But that was it for scoring – there wasn’t a single point from the bench and just six rebounds pulled down by the reserves.
Idaho’s defensive woes infiltrated the offense in the second half. Just two of Barone’s points and only five of McChristian’s were in the final 20 minutes. Madison had but one and Hill two during the same span.
In winning for the first time in a home conference game, UTSA improved to 8-19 and 3-12.