Dec. 7—From staff reports
MOSCOW, Idaho — After a series of heartbreaking losses to open the season, Idaho is proving the importance of a short memory in college basketball.
Isaac Jones continued his impressive first season in a Vandals jersey, totaling 19 points, nine rebounds and blocking six shots as Idaho topped North Dakota 76-66 on Monday night in nonconference play at the ICCU Arena.
The victory was the third in a row for the Vandals.
"We all just sat down after our last loss against Cal Poly and we didn't like the feeling of losing," Jones said on the postgame radio broadcast. "So we just had a heart-to-heart and since then we've just been playing a lot better basketball."
Jones, a junior who spent the past three seasons at Wenatchee Valley — which competes in the Northwest Athletic Conference — is averaging a team-best 19.6 points per game.
Divant'e Moffitt added 14 points and six assists for Idaho (4-5) and freshman Nigel Burris scored 13. Rashad Smith hit three 3-pointers en route to his 11-point effort.
After a back-and-forth first half that saw the Fighting Hawks (5-6) take a 34-33 lead into halftime, the Vandals took the lead back nearly 6 minutes into the second half and never looked back.
"Early on in the season, I think we were just kind of feeling each other out quite a bit and trying to find a rhythm," Jones said. "I think a lot of us haven't played on a team with this much potential before, so once we started clicking the wins have started to come."
Idaho shot 45.3% from the floor and 52.6% from 3-point range. North Dakota finished 44.8% overall and 38.1% on 3-pointers.
B.J. Omot paced the Fighting Hawks with 15 points.
Idaho will look for its third home victory in a row Sunday when UC Riverside visits Moscow at 2 p.m.