The Vandals led 49-33 with just over 14 minutes to play when the Redhawks began their run. Seattle U took a 52-51 lead with 9:30 left in the game and built that to 56-51 with 6:41 left before the Vandals snapped out of it.
“Lack of discipline, lack of fundamentals, lack of execution,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said of his team’s play during Seattle U’s game-changing run. “We have a 16-point lead, they press us – which we worked all week on the press – we get two-on-one and decide we’re going to make ESPN highlight reels instead of playing fundamentally sound basketball.”
The Vandals were able to keep it a one-possession deficit for the next five minutes before Connor Hill knocked down a clutch 3-pointer with 1:16 to play to put the Vandals ahead 65-63. Idaho got a stop on the other end and Madison connected on a mid-range jumper to make it 67-63 with 14 seconds to play, when it looked like Idaho would hang on for the victory.
Seattle U, however, had other plans. The Redhawks hit a 3-pointer on their next possession, and without any timeouts, Idaho was whistled for a five-second violation trying to inbound the ball. That gave SU the ball under the basket with 7.7 seconds left. SU’s D’vonne Pickett found Manny Chibuogwu under the hoop for the eventual game-winning layup. The Vandals had four seconds to go the length of the floor for a chance at a last-second shot, but Madison’s long pass to Hill down court was picked off and SU held on to win.
“There’s an old saying in college basketball, ‘players gotta play’,” Verlin said. “You’ve got to execute when the game is on the line and we didn’t do it tonight.”
The loss drops Idaho to 8-14 overall and 2-6 in the Western Athletic Conference, while Seattle U improves to 10-10 overall and 2-5 in the WAC.
Hill finished with 12 points for Idaho and Mike Scott added 10 points, five rebounds and two assists. Sekou Wiggs had seven points and three assists in the game.
Idaho shot 45.5 percent from the field in the game but the Redhawks connected on 50 percent of their shots, and 64 percent in the second half. Idaho went just 4-of-15 from 3-point range and SU held a slim 33-32 rebounding advantage.
Idaho returns to action with a pair of home games next week against New Mexico State (Feb. 6) and Texas-Pan American (Feb. 8).