DAVIS, Calif – The Idaho men’s basketball team trailed by 15 points in the first half, but the Vandals battled back and on the heels of a 16-2 second-half run and Idaho secured an 80-76 victory over UC Davis on Saturday afternoon.
Connor Hill led Idaho with a career-high 29 points on 7-of-9 shooting from 3-point range, Stephen Madison added a 15-point, 16-rebound double-double, with seven assists, and Glen Dean scored all 18 of his points in the second half to lead Idaho to the victory.
The Vandals improve to 4-4 on the season with the win, and return home after going 2-3 on their five-game road trip. Idaho will return host border-rival Washington State in the Cowan Spectrum on Dec. 7.
The Vandals shot just 33 percent from the field in the first half while the Aggies connected on 47 percent and 6-of-12 3-pointers before the break and took a 43-30 advantage into the locker room, but Idaho drained 9-of-13 second-half 3-pointers to aid its comeback victory.
“We had given them way too many points at half,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said of the 43 the Aggies scored in the first half. “I said if we would buckle down defensively, we could get on a roll. We were actually playing pretty well offensively. The key stat is we got those 3-pointers down, they made six in the first half and one in the second, we were able to guard the 3-point line in the second half.”
Idaho owned a 44-32 rebounding advantage and after committing nine first-half turnovers, finished the game with just 12 while forcing the Aggies into nine. Idaho connected on 11-of-14 free throws (79 percent) and 13-of-22 3-pointers (59 percent) in the game.
“We made nine three pointers in the second half,” Verlin said of the tale of two halves. “Connor has always shot it well in this building. What a great night for him. We kept getting him open looks.”
Allen Jiles IV came in the game in the second half and scored two points and added two assists and a steal in 14 minutes of play, appearing in just his fourth game this season.
“Allen is a walk-on, doesn’t get to play a lot, he came in tonight when we were struggling and did exactly what he is coached to do,” Verlin said of his effort. “He set a great screen for Connor hill, he did exactly what he was supposed to do and I was so happy for him.”
Joe Kammerer had six points and three rebounds in 13 minutes of play and Mike Scott added four points, two assists and a rebound for the Vandals.