The Idaho State men’s basketball team was picked to finish eighth in the Big Sky Conference’s preseason coaches and media polls, released Thursday.
ISU finished seventh in the regular-season standings last season and returns 63.8 of its scoring. Jared Stutzman and Brandon Boyd are among the key returners, while Novak Topalovic (transfer) and Geno Luzcando (graduation) are the biggest departures.
Boyd was named last year’s top reserve in the Big Sky after averaging 14.9 points per game and coming off the bench in 17 of 29 games. Boyd also earned honorable mention all-conference honors a season ago.
Stutzman was a third-team all-Big Sky player last season. He tied Boyd for the team lead in scoring average and led the conference in 3-point shooting at 52 percent.
Idaho State fell to Southern Utah in five sets Thursday night with a crowd of 511 in Reed Gym. The Bengals were unable to overcome a first-set loss as they dropped the match 25-18, 23-25, 25-23, 15-25, 15-9.
“I thought SUU played at a really high level,” Bengals coach Rick Reynolds said. “We didn’t come out and match it in the first couple sets, even though we did win the second set. They gave us a lot of points in that set and ultimately, they earned the win tonight.”
Abby Garrity reached 20 kills for the second consecutive game. The senior ended with 21 on 58 attacks for a .293 hitting percentage.
Brooke Pehrson and Taylor Meeks each had 11 kills on the night and hit .364 and .429, respectively. The duo also combined for eight blocks.
The Idaho State women’s basketball team was picked to finish in the upper half of the conference standings in the Big Sky’s preseason coaches and media polls, released Thursday.
The Bengals are slotted third by the league’s coaches andÂ fourth by the media. Idaho State finished fifth in last year’s regular-season standings and advanced to the semifinals of the end-of-season conference tournament.
ISU returns a core of its starters and key role players from last season, including sixth-year senior Grace Kenyon. Kenyon was named to the preseason all-conference team, which was announced Wednesday.
Idaho was the top vote-getter in both polls. The Vandals garnered 9 of 11 first-place votes in the coaches poll and 13 of 19 first-place nods from the media.
Idaho State plays its final nonconference game of the season Saturday, and the matchup is more intriguing than most of its out-of-conference counterparts.
The Bengals head east to face Liberty (3-3) â€” a first-year FBS program that was an established contender in the FCS.
The Flames posted 12 consecutive winning seasons at the FCS level (2006-17) and won an FCS playoff game in 2014. Liberty also pulled off a monumental upset when it beat Baylor last season.
Liberty is transitioning into the FBS as an independent this season, and has yet to face an FCS team. The Flames beat Troy last week to snap the Trojans’ five-game winning streak, and beat New Mexico of the Mountain West Conference back on Sept. 29.
The Idaho State golf team completed three rounds of play at the 2018 Pat Lesser-Harbottle Invitational, hosted by Seattle University.
The Bengals improved their play in Round 3 by shooting a 321 after shooting a 335 in Round 1 and a 346 in Round 2.
“We definitely didn’t play the way we wanted to,” Idaho State coach Dallen Atkins said. “I think these girls had a lot on their minds with midterms going on and grades coming out while we are away. And I would tell you that golf is about 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical. If our minds aren’t right or we are stressed out, we won’t play to our expectations. It definitely gives us something to work on over the winter.”
Tya Seth was the top scorer for Idaho State with a 244 (78-86-80). Tyler Erickson was second with a 245 (82-86-77). She was the top scorer for Idaho State in the third round with a 77.
The ISU men’s tennis team concluded play Tuesday at the ITA Mountain Region Championships in Las Vegas.
David Felix was the only ISU singles player to earn a berth to the main draw. He faced Utah State’s Felipe Acosta in the first round and lost 6-1, 6-0.
He and Fynn Lohse also played a doubles match against UNLV’s Samuelsson and Alenik. The duo was defeated 8-5, bringing an end to ISU’s fall season.
Bengals freshman Lukas Ridemar highlighted the first day of the ITA Mountain Region Championships with wins in singles and doubles.
The team has nearly three months to prepare for the spring season. The Bengals resume play Jan. 13 with a nonconference match at Utah State.
POCATELLO â€” Idaho State was a few plays away from avoiding a heartbreaking loss Saturday in overtime.
The Bengals (4-2, 3-1 Big Sky Conference) led by 16 points in the third quarter and 15 points in the fourth, but allowed UC Davis (5-1, 3-0 Big Sky) to rally and win the thriller in overtime.
Here are the positive and negative takeaways from ISUâ€™s 44-37 road loss.
MINUS: The loss