Idaho holds on to beat Montana State 81-75, snap losing streak

Feb. 3—From staff reports

BOZEMAN — The Idaho Vandals had one of their best offensive games of the season and snapped a long losing streak.

The visiting Vandals shot at an efficient clip to prevail 81-75 in a back-and-forth Big Sky men's basketball matchup against Montana State on Saturday night at Worthington Arena.

Idaho (8-14, 2-7 Big Sky) shot 54.4% from the field — its best shooting mark in a game this season against a Division I opponent — and had its highest scoring total in two months.

The Vandals pulled away down the stretch to break an eight-game skid.

The result signals progress for first-year coach Alex Pribble's Vandals, who occupy the bottom spot in the Big Sky standings. Montana State (11-12, 6-4) entered the game as the No. 2 team in the Big Sky. The Bobcats were coming off a win over conference front-runner Eastern Washington.

There was minimal separation between the Vandals and Bobcats for the first 27 minutes . The teams traded baskets for most of the night, and neither led by more than five points until midway through the second half.

Forward Julius Mims converted an alley-oop to put Idaho up by seven points with 7:49 to play, but the Bobcats responded with a run to make it a one-point Vandals lead. Mims and Vandals guard D'Angelo Minnis answered with 11 combined points over the next 3 minutes, pushing Idaho to the finish.

The Vandals' offense clicked in the second half, scoring 50 points.

Mims, a North Idaho College transfer, scored 15 points, shooting 7 of 11 from the field, and added 14 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. Minnis added 14 points.

Forwards Kyson Rose and Terren Frank had 13 and 12 points, respectively, as the Vandals controlled the frontcourt to offset an inconsistent 3-point-shooting night (5 of 19). Idaho outscored the Bobcats 44-32 in the paint and the Vandals outrebounded the hosts 32-25.

Montana State shot 49.1% from the field. Guard Robert Ford III led the Bobcats with 15 points.

Idaho visits Sacramento State for a 6 p.m. tipoff Monday.