Bengal Men Stay Alive Down Sac. State
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STORY BY STEVE SCHAACK-ISU SPORTS INFORMATION
POCATELLO, Idaho- The three seniors on the Idaho State men's basketball team went out winners on Saturday night. The Bengals beat Sacramento State 80-67 in front of a crowd of 2,013 in Reed Gym to improve to 8-10 in league and 11-16 overall. Sacramento State dropped to 13-14 and 9-9.
Chris Hansen led the Bengals in scoring with 21 points and Jeffrey Solarin had 14 points and a game-high 18 rebounds. The senior class of Tomas Sanchez, Andre Hatchett and Ayibakuro Preh sparked a second-half rally lift ISU.
Sanchez finished with 18 points and four assists in 40 minutes of play while Hatchett had 11 points and five assists and Preh had four points and three rebounds before fouling out.
"I am going to miss them," Idaho State coach Bill Evans said. "They are wonderful guys, good people and they are going to be good citizens. They are better people then they are basketball players and they are good basketball players. I respect them and I trust them. I can't say enough good things about them. I've enjoyed coaching this team more than any team I have ever coached."
Idaho State trailed 36-32 at halftime but opened the second-half strong, tying the game at 40 on a layup by Preh with 16:26 to play. ISU then took the lead for good on a layup by Solarin less than a minute later.
The Bengals never trailed after that. Sacramento State cut the Bengal lead to 50-49 with 12:36 left in the game. Idaho State then took a 65-56 lead with 6:34 to play after Solarin connected on two free throws.
Sacramento State got within four points late but the Bengals extended their lead for the 13-point victory.
"Our energy was to an ultimate max," Hatchett said. "With our backs against the wall we fought even harder. We valued every possession. That would be the key, defensively and offensively."
Idaho State shot 46 percent for the game and held the Hornets to 40.7 percent.
Idaho State out rebounded Sac State 42-31 and was 29-37 from the free throw line. The Bengals had 13 assists to 12 turnovers and the Hornets had 12 assists to 10 turnovers and was 9-19 at the free throw line.
After shooting 36.4 percent in the first half, ISU shot 53.6 percent in the final 20 minutes.
"I am happy for our guys and we beat a good team," Evans said. "We played really hard. We played really hard in the second half. Sac State to their credit kept hanging in there and hit some tough shots. I don't want to single anyone out because they all played well tonight."
The Bengals close out the season next week at Eastern Washington and Portland State.