SAN MARCOS, Texas - The wild ride that was the 2016-17 season officially came to an end on Wednesday night as Idaho fell to Texas State, 64-55, in the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.
“You have to give Texas State a lot of credit tonight,” said head coach Don Verlin. “I knew they were a good basketball team, they’re very good defensively. When it came down to it they shoot 66 percent from 2-point land in the second half, they were able to score against our defense. That was the bottom line.
“I thought my guys gave one heck of an effort. I thought they fought like crazy and that’s what I told them in the lockerroom after the game. It’s always hard when it comes to an end, but this team, more than anything I’ve had at the University of Idaho, is a bunch of great guys who really believe in doing things the Vandal way and I couldn’t be more proud of this group. And especially saying goodbye to Pat Ingram, one of my all-time favorite players here. What a super young man. It’s tough when it comes to an end, but there are a lot of positive things when we look at this season, but probably most is how these men have handled themselves all year.”
It was a close game throughout, with Texas State taking a one-point lead into the break at 24-23. The teams went back-and-forth early in the second half, but then the Bobcats took over for a short spell to grow their lead to as many as 13.
As had been the case all season these Vandals didn’t quit. Pat Ingram knocked down a pair of clutch 3’s, one coming off an incredible pass from Arkadiy Mkrtychyan through traffic to the corner. The Idaho press picked up, forcing a number of turnovers leading to buckets and just like that the deficit was down to just five.
“We were down by 13 and we fought like crazy to get it back and make a basketball game out of it,” Verlin said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the way our guys did that tonight.”
Texas State eventually settled down, with the help of a wild and passionate crowd, and hit their free throws in the clutch to earn the win.
Victor Sanders led the way for Idaho with 17 points, while Mkrtychyan added 14 of his own. Ingram was the top scorer of the bench, finishing with eight points.
Idaho shot 42.9 percent (21-of-49) from the floor and 31.6 percent (6-of-19) from beyond the arc. Texas State was 23-of-49 (46.9%) from the field but just 4-of-19 (21.1%) from range. The Bobcats were tremendous at the line, hitting 14-of-18 (77.8%). Rebounds were even at 31.
“It’s been a good season, no question about it. The thing that probably sticks out in my mind the most is that they never wavered in their belief. They never wavered in their belief of who they are, they never wavered in their belief of being Vandals. When we were 1-3 early in the conference season, I said this earlier, the team could’ve folded and they showed their character. They sat down and they fought. They found a way to get a first-round bye in the tournament and they found a way to win a game against a good Stephen F. Austin team.”
The Vandals have plenty to look forward to moving forward, as Idaho returns its top seven scorers and redshirt Perrion Callandret.
Fans can stay up-to-date on all things Idaho men's basketball by following the team on twitter, @VandalHoops.
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