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Story By ISU Sports Information
POCATELLO, Idaho- A Tomas Sanchez layup with 2.5 seconds left gave the Bengals a 60-59 victory over visiting Sacramento State Thursday inside Holt Arena. The Bengals improved their conference record to 3-4 and 4-12 overall while Sacramento State dropped to 8-7 and 3-4.
“I just saw a line I took it and luckily the shot went in,” Sanchez said. “Our team showed a lot heart. We never got down on ourselves even though we played bad in the first half. This is big. We can’t stop here. We just have to keep going.”
Down by three with 19.8 seconds left, Sanchez made a quick layup to bring the Bengals within one at 59-58 with 11 seconds remaining. On the other end, a missed one-in-one free throw by the Hornets gave the Bengals the last shot of the game. Sanchez, who finished with a career-high 22 points, drove through the defense and converted the layup to bring ISU to victory.
“I didn’t want to call a timeout and let them set up their defense,” Idaho State coach Bill Evans said. “Tomas is pretty good and he made a hard shot.” ISU went on a 13-5 run to cut the Hornet lead to 48-46 following a Sanchez 3-pointer with under nine minutes left in the game.
Chris Hansen added 15 points, including an 88-footer halftime buzzer beater that cut the Sacramento State lead to 29-21 at halftime. Melvin Morgan had 11 points and Andre Hatchett had 10 points and six rebounds.
Idaho State shot 40.4 percent from the floor while Sacramento State shot 41.7 percent. ISU was seven-for-22 from the 3-point line with four coming from Sanchez. Sanchez also had six rebounds. ISU was outrebounded 34-28.
Both teams only turned the ball over 10 times and ISU shot 50 percent in the second half (12-foor-24).
After halftime the Bengals trailed by as many as 10 points at 43-33 with 13:02 to play in the game.
“We were just standing around,” Evans said on his team’s play in the first half. “This was not the Bengals I have grown to appreciate and love. I am as proud now as I was disappointed at halftime and I told them I was.”
ISU took its first lead, since an early 4-2 lead in the opening minutes, when a steal and layup by Morgan with 2:26 to play gave the Bengals a 56-55 lead. Sacramento State led by three at 59-56 with 30 seconds remaining before ISU made its game-winning baskets.
“The way they hung in during the second half,” Evans said on what he was most pleased with from his team. “The first half we didn’t try enough in the second half and the second half we never stopped trying and we just kept coming. They believed they were going to win and I believed we were going to win.”
Idaho State hosts Northern Arizona on Saturday, January 19 at 7 p.m. in Holt Arena.