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Vandals can't keep up with Bears

Feb. 23—The Idaho men's and women's basketball teams were suffocated by a stingy Northern Colorado defense and combined for 28 turnovers as they each fell to the Bears in Big Sky Conference play on Friday.

The Vandal men dropped a 76-62 decision to Northern Colorado at the Bank of Colorado Arena in Greeley Colo., and the women fell 57-38 to the Bears at the ICCU Arena in Moscow.

Here's how each game played out:

Men falter in later stages

The game was tied 7-7 at the first media timeout.

Northern Colorado (17-10, 10-4) took a 10-7 lead with a 3-pointer from the Big Sky's second-leading scorer, Saint Thomas (19.2 points per game), with 14:56 left in the first half.

Idaho junior guard EJ Neal scored on the ensuing possession to cut its deficit to 10-9.

The Bears responded with a 4-0 run to take their biggest lead up to that point, 14-9, with 13:46 remaining in the first half.

After trailing for almost eight minutes, the Vandals (10-17, 4-10) retook the lead 24-23 with two successful free throws from junior guard Quinn Denkner with 6:52 left in the first half.

Idaho was outscored 13-9 for the remainder of the half.

The Bears had a 37-32 halftime advantage, and Thomas notched 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting.

Northern Colorado dominated the Vandals in nearly every scoring category in the first 20 minutes.

Idaho committed eight turnovers in the first half, and Northern Colorado scored 10 points on the Vandals' miscues.

The Bears also outscored the Vandals 20-12 in points in the paint and 8-2 in fast-break points during the first half.

Northern Colorado remained consistent through the second half and garnered a 67-48 lead with 8:17 left in regulation, its largest of the contest.

The Bears were 14-of-30 (46.7%) from the floor in the first half and improved their efficiency by more than 10% in the final 20 minutes by going 15-of-26 from the floor (57.7%).

The Vandals were outscored 39-30 in the second half.

Idaho struggled from the field in the final 20 minutes, going 11-of-32 (34.4%) from the floor.

Denker was the Vandals leading scorer with a season-high 23 points on 7-of-15 shooting, Teren Frank contributed 11 and Neal added 10.

Thomas (20), Brock Wisne (19) and Dejour Reaves (13) were all in double figures for Northern Colorado and Thomas notched eight assists, which tied a career high.

Women struggle early

Idaho and Northern Colorado were a combined 0-for-14 from the field in the game's first 3:47.

Vandals' fifth-year senior Amalie Langer ended the drought and put them ahead 2-0 with 6:13 remaining in the first half.

The Vandals never led again.

Northern Colorado (13-12, 8-6) went on a 10-0 run to take a 14-4 advantage with 1:31 left in the first quarter.

Idaho (13-13, 6-8) was outscored 35-21 in the first half and was held to 8-of-24 (33%) shooting.

The Vandals also committed 10 turnovers, and the Bears outscored them 15-0 in points off takeaways.

Northern Colorado was 15-of-29 from the field (51.7%) in the first half.

Only four Vandals scored in the opening 20 minutes and Kenndey Johnson led with 11 points.

The second half continued to be a rout, and Idaho finished 13-for-50 (26%) from the floor and 4-of-18 (26%) from behind the 3-point line. Johnson had a team-high 18 points.

The Bears outscored the Vandals 46-18 in points in the paint and 19-9 in points off turnovers.

Seneca Hackley (15 points), Hannah Simental (13), Tatum Wst (11) and Fields (10) were all in double figures for Northern Colorado.

MEN

IDAHO (10-17, 4-10)

Denker 8-16 4-4 23, Neal 4-12 0-1 10, Mims 3-6 0-2 6, Blassingame 1-2 0-0 3, Rose 0-2 0-0 0, Frank 3-7 4-6 11, Gonzalez 2-8 2-2 7, Hardy 1-2 0-0 2, Yearout 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 22-57 10-15 62.

NORTHERN COLORADO (17-10, 10-4)

Thomas 8-15 2-2 20, Wisne 9-12 1-2 19, Bloch 3-4 0-0 9, Abercrombie 1-6 0-0 2, Rillie 0-4 0-0 0, Reaves 4-9 3-4 13, Hughes 3-3 1-2 7, Reynolds 1-2 4-4 6, Cameron 0-1 0-0 0, Creech 0-0 0-0 0, Ramirez 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-56 11-14 76.

Halftime — Northern Colorado 76-62. 3-point goals — Idaho 8-28 (Denker 3-8, Neal 2-5, Blassingame 1-2, Frank 1-4, Gonzalez 1-6, Rose 0-1, Mims 0-2); Northern Colorado 7-18 (Bloch 3-4, Reaves 2-3, Thomas 2-5, Rillie 0-1, Wisne 0-1, Abercrombie 0-4). Rebounds — Idaho 33 (Denker 7); Northern Colorado 34 (Rillie 7). Assists — Idaho 9 (Denker, Neal, Blassingame 3); Northern Colorado 21 (Thomas 8). Total fouls — Idaho 16; Northern Colorado 14. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — none. Attendance — 1,253

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WOMEN

NORTHERN COLORADO (13-12, 8-6)

Hackley 6-12 3-3 15, West 5-8 1-1 11, Fields 4-9 1-2 10, Byrne 1-5 0-0 2, Simental 1-4 0-0 2, Hall 6-8 1-2 13, Moore 1-1 0-0 2, Ikidi 1-3 0-0 2, Specht 0-1 0-0 0, Panem 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-52 6-8 57

IDAHO (13-13, 6-8)

Johnson 6-14 4-4 18, Langer 2-4 2-2 6, Schmitt 1-8 1-2 3, Phillips 1-10 1-1 3, Brans 0-5 0-0 0, Wallace 2-4 0-0 6, Bea 1-3 0-0 2, Caldwell 0-0 0-0 0, Kitty 0-2 0-0 0, Bork 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-50 8-9 38.

Northern Colorado 16 19 11 11—57

Idaho 9 12 8 9—38

3-point goals — Northern Colorado 1-8 (Fields 1-2, Hackley 0-1, Byrne 0-2, Simental 0-3); Idaho 4-18 (Johnson 2-4, Wallace 2-4, Langer 0-1, Brans 0-2, Phillips 0-3, Schmitt 0-4). Rebounds — Northern Colorado 34 (Bryne 13); Idaho 31 (Johnson 9). Assists — Northern Colorado 7 (Fields 3); Idaho 8 (Schmitt, Brans 2). Total fouls — Northern Colorado 13; Idaho 12. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — none. Attendance — 1,069.

Pixley may be contacted at tpixley@lmtribune.com, (208) 848-2268 or on Twitter @TreebTalks.