December 10, 1997
PULLMAN, Wash. -- A pair of second-half 3-point baskets by Cougar point guard Blake Pengelly lifted the Washington State men's basketball team to a come-from-behind victory over visiting Idaho 63-52 in front of a crowd of 3,109 at Friel Court Wednesday night.
Pengelly's first 3-pointer helped erase a six-point Idaho lead and tied the contest at 46-46 with 5:38 remaining. A steal and jump shot by Rodrigo de la Fuente and another 3-pointer by Pengelly within the next minute gave WSU a five point advantage. A made free throw by Kojo Mensah-Bonsu at 4:08 capped a 12-0 WSU run.
The Vandals pulled to within four points, 54-50, after a layup by Mao Tosi with 2:50 to go, but de la Fuente hit a jump shot at 2:31 which started a 9-2 WSU run to end the game.
"(de la Fuente's) basket was the most critical basket," said first-year Idaho head coach Dave Farrar. "That was the one that took away any opportunity we had to get back into the game."
The Cougars were led by de la Fuente's 16 points and seven rebounds while Carlos Daniel had 12 points and seven rebounds. Leif Nelson pitched in 11 points and Pengelly had eight points and a game-high five assists for WSU. Idaho's Avery Curry led all scorers with 20 points as he connected on 10 of 14 free throw attempts.
Washington State (5-2 overall) struggled offensively in the first half as the Cougars committed 12 of their 20 turnovers and shot just 40.7 percent. The Vandals, who managed to hit just 39.1 percent of their shots in the first half (35 percent for the game), posted a 26-25 halftime lead.
"I thought (Idaho) came out a lot more fired up to play us than we did (to play) them," said WSU head coach Kevin Eastman. "Life could have been made a lot easier had we hit some free throws and not turned the basketball over."
Next the Cougars take to the road and face the Broncos of Boise State Saturday, Dec. 12 at 6:35 p.m. PST.