ISU MBB: Bengals travel to high-scoring Cal State Northridge

ISU MBB Rob Jones

By Madison Guernsey mguernsey@journalnet.com

For the first time this season, Idaho State played two complete halves.

The Bengals put together their best defensive effort of the season on Tuesday, holding Lamar to 30.6 percent shooting while tallying nine blocks and eight steals. ISU’s 47.9 percent shooting clip was its second-highest this season, its 23 made free throws marked a season high and a 14-10 assist-to-turnover margin was the Bengals’ first game with more dimes than giveaways.

ISU earned a 77-60 win, snapping a six-game losing streak that featured two 30-plus-point blowouts and spelling relief for a team with Big Sky championship aspirations. But the Bengals (1-6) still posed a glaring weakness.

“The Achilles heel would be the inability to rebound the ball,” Bengals head coach Bill Evans said Friday by phone.

ISU was outrebounded 47-28 — a season-worst minus-19 margin. Lamar snatched 17 offensive rebounds, pushing Bengals opponents to an 85-44 advantage in that category for the season.

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ISU WBB: Bengals fall to Utah State

By ISU Sports Information

Idaho State fell to Utah State 69-56 Thursday evening at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The Bengals out-rebounded the Aggies 42-37 including 17 offensive rebounds, but a season-high 24 turnovers and a fourth-quarter scoring outburst gave the Aggies the upper hand.

Three Bengals finished in double-figures, led by sophomore guard Grace Kenyon with 11 points and season-high 11 rebounds for her first double-double of the season, to go along with a team-high four assists. Sophomore guard Isabel Vara de Rey added 13 points, while sophomore guard Saylair Grandon chipped in a career-high 13 points with four rebounds, one block and one steal.

Idaho State (2-4) took the early lead with a trey from Vara de Rey less than 30 seconds into the contest, but Utah State (6-1) took off on a 10-3 run to take a 10-6 lead midway through the first. The final five minutes of the opening quarter featured back-and-forth play with two lead chances and three ties, yet Idaho State was able to build a four-point advantage, 17-13, with 1:15 to go. A 5-1 Aggie run put USU back on top 18-17 to end the first.

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ISU MBB: Nakken nominated for Good Works Team

By ISU Sports Information

Idaho State junior Erik Nakken is one of 278 basketball student-athletes nominated for the Allstate NABC and WBCA Good Works Teams. The award honors an outstanding group of student-athletes who represent the sport’s finest in the areas of community service and leadership among their peers.

The Allstate NABC and WBCA Good Works Teams recognize players at all levels of college basketball whose charitable involvement and altruistic acts stand out amongst all other student-athletes participating in the sport.

On campus, Nakken is involved in Omicron Delta Kappa, the University Honors Program, German Club, the Student-Athlete Advisory Council and the Latter Day Saint Student Organization.

The Bengal junior has volunteered at the Zoo, local food banks and organized activities for kids in the Pocatello community.

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ISU MBB: Topalovic’s new opportunities bring success

ISU MBB Novak Topalovic

 

By Madison Guernsey mguernsey@journalnet.com

 

Talk to Novak Topalovic for 30 seconds and his accent is the only indicator he’s an international transplant with limited college basketball experience.

Idaho State’s 7-foot redshirt sophomore from Serbia understands his weaknesses but isn’t shy about his strengths. He speaks nearly perfect English, through which he details his aspirations to be a dominant big man.

Topalovic has been thrust into a full-time starting role after seeing his first collegiate action last season. Returning starting center Kyle Ingram is out for the year with a back injury, making Topalovic the No. 1 option in the post.

Through seven games, Topalovic is making progress. He’s a focal point of the offense, with an ability to establish ideal position under the rim, and is the team’s leading rebounder.

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ISU MBB: Back on board — Bengals earn first win of the season over Lamar in home opener

ISU MBB Brandon Boyd

By Madison Guernsey mguernsey@journalnet.com

POCATELLO — Idaho State led for all but 63 seconds, halted Lamar’s second-half comeback and ended its season-long losing streak with a 77-60 win Tuesday at Holt Arena. The Bengals shot 48.9 percent from the floor, held Lamar to 30.6 percent and made 34 trips to the free-throw line.

After Lamar cut Idaho State’s lead to 53-50 with 10:51 to play, Rob Jones found Novak Topalovic on the baseline for a two-handed slam that sparked an 8-0 run, pushing the Bengals’ lead to 61-50. ISU outscored Lamar 16-10 the rest of the way, stamped by another Topalovic dunk with 20 seconds remaining.

Jones scored a game-high 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Gary Chivichyan also went 5 of 8 for 13 points, Geno Luzcando and Brandon Boyd had 12 apiece and Topalovic and Ethan Telfair each scored nine. Telfair was held to seven shots in his first game since Nov. 19 but tallied four rebounds and seven assists. Telfair was held out of ISU’s last three games (coach’s decision).

The Bengals (1-6) kept Lamar (4-2) out of the paint, forcing the Cardinals into rushed shots from the arc. Lamar went 7 of 28 from deep and attempted 62 shots to ISU’s 48.

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Bengals in the NFL: Hill sets career highs in win over L.A.

By Journal Staff

Throughout the NFL season, we’ll check in with former Idaho State football players currently in the NFL. Here’s an update after the 12th week of the regular season.

Josh Hill (2009-12)

New Orleans Saints

Former Idaho State tight end Josh Hill had a career-high six catches with a career-high 74 yards Sunday in New Orleans’ 49-21 win against the Los Angeles Rams at home.

Hill was the Saints’ second-leading receiver in the game, in which New Orleans scored the final 21 points.

For the season, Hill has 14 receptions for 146 yards and one touchdown. Hill is two receptions and 30 yards away from tying his career highs for a season.

New Orleans (5-6) is two games behind Atlanta for the NFC South Division lead and hosts the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

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ISU MBB: Bengals look to fix ‘little things’ in home opener against Lamar

ISU MBB Geno Luzcando

By Madison Guernsey mguernsey@journalnet.com

Little things add up quickly, and Idaho State is enduring the damage.

The Bengals are 0-6, marking their worst start in head coach Bill Evans’ five-season tenure and longest season-starting losing streak since beginning the 1960-61 season 0-8.

Turnovers, poor free-throw shooting, impatience on offense and a distinct rebounding disadvantage have all doomed the Bengals this season. “The little things,” “mental mistakes” and “correctables” that tend to work themselves out over time haven’t clicked through six road games, but ISU isn’t panicking.

After all, the Bengals went from being one of the worst rebounding teams in Division I early last season to a steady defensive unit that thrived when it forced a missed shot and pushed the ball in transition.

Better defense led to better rebounding a year ago, but what will stem the tide of turnovers and overall sloppiness this season?

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ISU seeks comment on proposed vision statement

Stuart Summers

By Shelbie Harris sharris@journalnet.com

POCATELLO — As part of its accreditation process, Idaho State University is seeking public comment and feedback on a new vision statement proposal.

The planned statement that will guide university decisions for the next five years is: “Idaho State University is the university of choice for tomorrow’s leaders, creatively connecting communities, ideas and opportunities.”

“We really want to get a vision statement that encompasses all of campus,” said Stuart Summers, spokesman for ISU. “We want to be transparent and we want make sure that there’s feedback from everybody, because the only way we can be successful and get the buy-in is if everybody is supportive.”

The ISU strategic planning working group, which consists of approximately 50 ISU faculty, staff, students and community stakeholders, developed the statement.

This group has been meeting bi-weekly for several months now developing the statement, according to Summers.

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