Idaho was on the wrong side of a classic in Bozeman on Thursday night as they fell in double-overtime, 94-91 to the Montana State Bobcats.
Idaho held the ball for over 30 minutes in the game but was unable to hold on for its fourth straight win. Instead the Bobcats earned their fourth straight victory.
Sixty-two fouls were called on the court, resulting in four players fouling out. The Bobcats shot 73 percent from the line while the Vandals shot 59 percent — a stat Idaho head coach Don Verlin said was the difference between winning and losing the game.
“I thought they fought. The bottom line tonight, we didn’t make our free-throws,” Verlin said.
In the first half Idaho controlled the floor. Montana State led by as many as six points before a post play from sophomore forward Nate Sherwood and senior forward Ty Egbert helped Idaho earn an 18-4 run.
“I thought a number of guys stepped up,” Verlin said. “I thought Ty Egbert was really effective in the first half.”
A last second 3-pointer from junior guard Chad Sherwood would give Idaho a four point lead at the half.
The Vandals created a nine point lead halfway through the second half, but as the final minutes ticked away players began to hit the free-throw line more frequently.
A 3-pointer from Idaho junior forward Brayon Blake with one minute left was answered by Montana State and the game went into overtime.
Blake scored the first five points in overtime, but was ultimately answered by the Bobcats once again. The first overtime ended tied at 78. Blake hit two 3-pointers in the final two minutes of the second overtime, but free throws from Montana State would ultimately clench the victory for the Bobcats.
“This one is hard. Like I told them in the locker room after the game, when you play this hard and you work as hard as you possibly can, these are the ones that sting,” Verlin said. “What our job is to do is to flush this one down and get ready for the next one because we know the next one is big.”
Idaho shot 47.5 percent from the field and 45.8 percent from 3-point range.
Blake led the Vandals with 20 points, following closely by Sherwood with 19. Sherwood also collected seven rebounds.
Montana State’s Tyler Hall led the court with 31 points.
Idaho takes on Montana at 6 p.m. Jan. 28 in Missoula.
Colton Clark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org