MOSCOW – Idaho eliminated an eight-point New Mexico State lead with 5:58 to go in a 59-58 win over the Aggies at the Cowan Spectrum on Thursday night.
With Idaho trailing 58-57 and less than 10 seconds left in the game, junior Kyle Barone took an inbound pass at the top of the key, drove down the lane, then dished at the last second to senior forward Djim Bandoumel for the open finish with 5.4 ticks left.
“I felt like I could get by my guy,” Barone said of the play. “I saw Djim’s guy help and there was no one guarding him to help on help, so I just dished it off and he finished it.”
“That was a workman’s effort tonight our basketball team, no question about it,” Idaho head coach Don Verlin said. “We found a way to win a game where we were able to hold someone down defensively and I thought that was the key to the game.”
Idaho climbs to 14-11 overall and 6-4 in WAC play, and draws one game closer to the Aggies, which are now 17-8 overall and 6-3 in the conference.
Barone led all scorers with 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting, along with eight rebounds, two blocks and a career-high-tying four assists. Bandoumel made five of his 10 shots, grabbed six boards and blocked a career-high six shots. As a team, the Vandals tied a season high with 10 blocks in the game.
Up next, the Vandals will play their fifth game in a nine-day span when they host Louisiana Tech on Saturday. The Bulldogs are 11-13 overall and 3-6 in WAC play. Idaho won in Ruston, La., earlier this year in overtime, 90-88.