Jacks top Idaho at home, split season series

The first four minutes of the SDSU men’s basketball team’s second game of the season against Idaho had the crowd at Frost arena dead silent. The last possession of the game had everyone on their feet.

After spotting the Vandals a 12-1 lead to start the game, the Jacks battled back and survived two shot attempts in the closing seconds to take a n 87-85 victory, avenging the loss they suffered in Moscow, Idaho earlier this season. SDSU moves to 6-3 on the season, while Idaho’s road struggles continue as they drop to 4-5, despite shooting 60 percent from the field on the day. 

Deondre Parks led all scorers with 20 points, while freshman Reed Tellinghuisen set a new career high with 17. Parks also lead the Jacks with 6 rebounds.

Senior sharpshooter Connor Hill lead the Vandals with 18 points, going 5-7 from deep. Hill came into the game tied with Gonzaga senior Kevin Pangos for fifth in most career three’s by active NCAA players. Pangos only hit one against UCLA, giving Hill sole possession of fifth.

SDSU got out to a slow start at home, but were able to battle back to a 38-35 lead at the half, thanks in a large part to forcing the Vandals into 14 turnovers.

“They out-toughed us in the first half,” said Idaho head coach Don Verlin. “They got off a few more shots, and we didn’t adjust to their physicality. We did a better job in the second half, only four turnovers.”

SDSU battled foul trouble, with starters Zach Horstman and Keaton Moffitt picking up fouls early and being limited to nine and 11 minutes, respectively. Cody Larson fouled out of the game after picking up three fouls in a 33-second span with less than three minutes left in the game.

With Moffitt, who has been starting at point guard while SDSU waits for transfer George Marshall to become eligible, limited, the Jacks and head coach Scott Nagy were forced to look elsewhere for ball handling.  Parks and Jake Bittle picked up that role, with Parks sparking the offense, and Bittle working the passing lanes to the tune of seven assists.

“We put a lot on Deondre tonight, we asked him to guard their leading scorer, be our leading scorer, handle the ball and he’s handled it really well,” said SDSU head coach Scott Nagy. “He’ll be the happiest to see George, cause its really going to free him up.”

The Rabbits have started the year 6-3 waiting for Marshall, who is set to be eligible at the conclusion of finals week. Having relied on a bevy of first year players to this point, the outlook for this team moving forward seems bright.

Coach Nagy likes the prospects of this team when Marshall is added to the mix, but was quick to temper expectations.

“There will be an adjustment at first, George is a guy who will have the ball in his hands a lot,” Nagy said. “Guys like Jake, Deondre, Cody, and Reed will have to adjust a little bit too, because George will take some shots. But In practice, we’ve seen George give the other guys more confidence, it’s adding another good player to the mix and it gets them excited.”

Next up for the Jacks is a matchup against Idaho State in Logan, Utah, on Dec. 18 as part of the World Vision Classic. While in Logan, SDSU will also face Bakersfield and Utah State.