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Story by Steve Schaack, ISU Sports Information
1/16/2014 11:50:00 PM
POCATELLO, Idaho- The Idaho State men's basketball team improved to 3-2 in Big Sky Conference play with a 60-45 victory over Southern Utah on Thursday evening at Holt Arena. The Bengals are 6-8 overall while SUU fell to 1-13 and 0-5 in Big Sky action.
The Bengals had three players in double figures led by Andre Hatchett's 17 points. Chris Hansen had 13 points and Tomas Sanchez had 11 points and seven rebounds.
"You have to give Southern Utah a lot of credit," Idaho State coach Bill Evans said. "They were really good defensively and aggressive. They made it hard to score around the basket. Their tempo offensively was a little slower to try and limit our number of shots. Give them credit but give our guys credit too. We won by 15 against a team that played very well tonight."
Idaho State shot 36 percent from the field (47.8 percent in the first half and 25.9 percent in the second half). It was the first victory of the season when shooting less than 40 percent and it was only the second time since the 2012-13 season the Bengals have won when shooting under 40 percent.
"It says something about our team and how far they have come over the last year and a half," Evans said. "I went upstairs after we win and we looked like we lost. Last year we would have been rolling around on the floor. Our guys know we didn't play great and that is a good thing. I am happy with the outcome."
The Bengals out rebounded SUU 46-27 thanks to a career-high 13 boards from Jeffrey Solarin. ISU had 20 offensive rebounds. Hatchett had six rebounds while Hansen and Ayibakuro Preh each had five.
"I like the idea that we got 46 rebounds and 20 offensive rebounds," Evans said. "I also thought we defended pretty well."
The Bengals went to the free throw line 34 times, connecting on 22 attempts while the T-Birds hit nine of 16 free throws.
Idaho State led the entire game, with its largest lead being 15 at two different points in the second half.
"We need to keep working and keep getting better," Evans said. "But we need to enjoy the moment a little more."
Idaho State plays at Weber State on Monday, January 20 at 7 p.m. and then returns to Pocatello to host Montana on January 23 and Montana State on January 25. Both games begin at 7 p.m. and they will be played in Reed Gym.