Idaho Hoops

GREELEY, Colo. — Micayla Isenbart hit a short jumper in the paint with less than a second remaining in regulation Thursday as the Northern Colorado Bears beat the Idaho Vandals 63-61 in Big Sky Conference action at Bank of Colorado Arena.

Hannah Simental paced the Bears (4-7, 1-2 Big Sky) with 19 points, Isenbart added 13 points and five rebounds, and Alisha Davis finished with 11 points and six rebounds.

Junior guard Gina Marxen led the Vandals (6-5, 5-2) with 18 points. Senior guard Gabi Harrington and junior post Hailey Christopher each added 12 points and sophomore guard Beyonce Bea had 11 points for Idaho, which made a season-high 14 3-pointers. Northern Colorado held the Vandals to just one point in the final 3:46.

The Vandals (6-5, 5-2) led for 19 total minutes after falling behind 11-0 to begin the game.

“Our execution down the stretch was not good offensively or defensively,” Idaho coach Jon Newlee said. “We were trying to get a foul at the end. We thought we fouled but there was no whistle so obviously we didn’t, so then they get their shot. The last minute we didn’t run our stuff the way we have been practicing all year. It didn’t just come down to the final shot. We had breakdowns and didn’t take care of the basketball, and it ultimately cost us this ball game.”

Each team turned the ball over 18 times, but the Bears held a slight 19-17 edge in points off turnovers. Northern Colorado held the advantage on the boards 25-19 as each team shot better than 45 percent from the floor.

The Vandals were without Natalie Klinker, who has been out recently with an undisclosed injury. Klinker took an awkward fall against Washington State on Dec. 13, then returned to action for a series at Northern Arizona Dec. 31-Jan. 2, but has not played since.

Idaho returns to action on Saturday in a rematch against the Bears. Tip-off is set for 11 a.m. Pacific.

IDAHO (6-5, 5-2)

Marxen 6-10 2-2 18, Harrington 4-8 1-2 12, Bea 4-7 0-0 10, Alexander 1-6 0-0 3, Gandy 1-3 0-0 3, Christopher 5-9 0-0 12, Atchley 1-1 0-0 3, Kirby 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-48 3-4 61.

NORTHERN COLORADO (4-7, 1-2)

Simental 7-10 1-2 19, Isenbart 6-7 0-0 13, Davis 3-9 4-8 11, Gayles 2-6 2-2 7, Galloway 1-5 1-2 4, Chapman 4-5 0-0 9, Finau 0-3 0-0 0, Wiggins 0-1 0-0 0, Wikstrom 0-1 0-0 0, Evans 0-1 0-0 0. 23-48 8-14 63.

Idaho 12 14 23 12—61

Northern Colorado 15 10 22 16—63

3-point goals — Idaho 14-25 (Marxen 4-7, Harrington 3-4, Bea 2-3, Alexander 1-3, Gandy 1-2, Christopher 2-4, Atchley 1-1, Kirby 0-1), Northern Colorado 9-16 (Simental 4-4, Isenbart 1-2, Davis 1-1, Gayles 1-3, Galloway 1-2, Chapman 1-1, Finau 0-1, Wiggins 0-1, Wikstrom 0-1). Rebounds — Idaho 19 (Kirby 8), Northern Colrado 25 (Davis 6). Assists — Idaho 11 (Marxen 3), Northern Colorado 12 (Simental, Isenbart 3). Total fouls — Idaho 11, Northern Colorado 14.

MEN

Second-half surge lifts Bears

MOSCOW — Matt Johnson tallied a game-high 18 points Thursday as Northern Colorado used a 22-4 run midway through the second half to create some separation as the Bears extended the Idaho Vandals' season-opening losing streak to 10 games with a 74-54 Big Sky Conference victory at Memorial Gym.

"We were careless with the ball, whether it be a bad pass that led to a transition or some untimely shot selection," Idaho coach Zac Claus said. "Then we just struggled guarding the bounce, which led to them playing downhill, getting them some baskets in the paint."

Daylen Kountz added 17 points for the Bears (6-6, 3-4 Big Sky), who outrebounded the Vandals 38-30 and went 12-for-24 (50 percent) from 3-point range. Bodie Hume contributed 12 points, nine rebounds and three steals, and Tre'Shon Smoots finished with 10 points and four assists.

"We knew coming in that these guys are absolutely capable of hitting from outside the arc, and they certain did it tonight," Claus said.

Senior guard Damen Thacker was the only Idaho (0-10, 0-7) player in double figures with 16 points, adding five rebounds.

"He's playing well and doing a nice job of coming off ball screens, being able to knock down shots when we need him to, and he's always been one of our best defenders," Claus said. "He's someone who will stick his chest in there and take a charge when we need one. We're going to need him to continue to play at a high rate."

Northern Colorado had a 22-20 advantage with seven minutes left before halftime when it went on a 7-0 run, sparked by five consecutive points from Greg Bowie II, to hold a 29-20 lead at the 3:05 mark. The Bears would take a 30-24 lead into the locker room.

The Vandals were able to trim their margin to four at 44-40 with 12:17 to go in regulation as freshman forward Tanner Christensen converted a layup off a turnover.

However, Johnson had eight points during the pivotal surge for the Bears, includng back-to-back 3s, as they emerged with a 55-42 cushion with 7:01 remaining. Idaho senior forward Scott Blakney stopped a bit of the bleeding with a layup at the 6:35 mark, but several players sparked an 11-0 run during the next 3:04 as Northern Colorado never was threatened again.

The two teams will meet again at noon Saturday at the same site.

N. COLORADO (6-6, 3-4)

Jockuch 4-6 1-1 9, Hume 2-11 7-10 12, Johnson 6-10 2-2 18, Kountz 6-11 2-4 17, Smoots 2-3 4-4 10, Bowie 1-4 2-2 5, McCobb 0-1 0-0 0, Melvin 0-1 0-0 0, Hughes 0-1 0-0 0, Creech 0-2 0-0 0, Grigsby 0-1 0-0 0, Kennedy 1-1 0-0 3, Little 0-0 0-0 0, English 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-52 18-23 74.

IDAHO (0-10, 0-7)

Blakney 4-10 0-0 8, Christmas 2-6 0-1 4, Quinnett 3-8 0-0 8, Robinson 1-5 0-0 2, Thacker 6-12 2-2 16, Thiombane 1-4 3-4 5, Garvin 0-2 0-0 0, Christensen 3-4 3-6 9, Kilgore 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 21-53 8-13 54.

Halftime: N. Colorado 30-24. 3-point goals: N. Colorado 12-24 (Johnson 4-7, Kountz 3-4, Smoots 2-3, Kennedy 1-1, Bowie 1-4, Hume 1-4, Grigsby 0-1), Idaho 4-13 (Quinnett 2-3, Thacker 2-3, Garvin 0-1, Thiombane 0-1, Christmas 0-2, Robinson 0-3). Rebounds: N. Colorado 33 (Hume 9), Idaho 26 (Christensen 6). Assists: N. Colorado 15 (Smoots 4), Idaho 10 (Thacker 3). Total fouls: N. Colorado 18, Idaho 20.

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