With Sacramento State coming in to Pocatello to play Idaho State, most everyone could have expected a close, competitive game. That is exactly what happened.
Sacramento State led most of the way, but it was Idaho State making the plays down the stretch to win, 60-59. Let's set the stage.
It was 57-56 Hornets, with the ball and about 50 seconds on the clock. They had a great possession, stalling for much of it before getting the ball into Dylan Garrity's hands late. He showed great poise, passing the ball off to John Dickson for an open lay-in. Hornets lead 59-56, 19.8 seconds left.
After that, a couple coaching decisions shaped the rest of the game. The first was a good decision by Bill Evans. Instead of trying the three, ISU recognized that there was enough time to get a quick two and foul. So, Tomas Sanchez took the ball hard to the rim and scored with 11.8 seconds left, cutting the lead to one.
On the Hornets inbound (which came after a timeout), it was Joe Eberhard in bounding the ball, eventually getting it to Julian Demalleville. This is curious because Eberhard is an 80% free throw shooter on the year, while Demalleville had been 10/16 from the line in his career. You have to get the ball to your best free throw shooters in that situation.
You know what happens next. Demalleville missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Sanchez got the ball, took it the length of the court, and scored on a driving bucket with 2.5 seconds left. Dylan Garrity missed a last second heave (apparently Brian Katz was upset because he thought there should have been a foul called, but I agree with a no-call), and the Bengals win 60-59.
Great coaching from ISU, poor coaching down the stretch from Sac State, big time plays by Tomas Sanchez, and suddenly both teams are 3-4. With the way things are going right now in the conference, that type of 20 second stretch could be the difference between making or missing the Big Sky tournament.
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