Idaho 97, Dakota 96
BOISE, Nov. 30 – Ricky Sanchez contributed 13 points off the bench and hit a big three-point basket with 3.4 seconds remaining to catapult the Idaho Stampede to a 97-96 win over the Dakota Wizards. Idaho controlled the rebound advantage 46-37 in its home opener.
Dakota (1-3) finished with all five starters having scored in double digit, led by Dontell Jefferson’s game-high 27 points. Carlos Powell had 18 points, Maurice Baker added 17, Rod Benson contributed 15 points and eight rebounds, and Kevin Lyde scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Wizards. Dakota shot 48.6 percent from the field, but missed 11 of 32 from the free throw line, including a key miss by Jefferson in the final ten seconds that would have put Dakota up by three.
Idaho (3-1) had six players score in double figures, led by Lance Allred’s 20 points and 10 rebounds. It was his second double-double of the season. Randy Livingston also finished with a double-double, contributing 10 points to go along with 14 assists, his third double-double in as many games. Cory Violette added 19 points and eight rebounds, Roberto Bergersen finished with 17 points and Ernest Scott chipped in 15 for the Stampede.
There were 26 lead changes as both teams traded baskets throughout the contest.
The Wizards started the game sizzling, hitting at a 61-percent clip, led by Jefferson’s nine points on 4-of-5 shooting in the first quarter. Idaho held off the charge, thanks to ten first-quarter points from Scott, and led 28-25 at the break.
The second quarter was more of the same, as Dakota shot over 52 percent in the period, though the Stampede built the game’s largest lead of seven points with four minutes remaining in the half on a Sanchez jumper. The Wizards scored the final five points of the half, in the final 30 seconds, to tie the game at 49, on a three-pointer by David Palmer and a Jefferson runner in the lane.
Despite six third-quarter turnovers, Idaho led 74-71 going into the fourth, due in large part to the Wizards sinking only 7 of 18 field goals in the third. The Stampede finished with 26 turnovers, which led to 40 points for the Wizards.
Dakota returns home for a rematch with the Stampede on Saturday, Dec. 8. Idaho continues its season-opening home stand Saturday night against the Albuquerque Thunderbirds, then hosts the Sioux Falls Skyforce on Tuesday night.