POCATELLO, Idaho – Dustin McConnell's three-point attempt from about 30 feet as time expired just missed off of the back iron and Idaho State held on to defeat Whitworth 68-65 in an exhibition men's basketball game on Tuesday night at Reed Gymnasium.
The NCAA Division I Bengals, who defeated NAIA Montana Tech 71-41 last Thursday, will open their season on Saturday at Utah State. Whitworth, members of the NCAA Division III Northwest Conference, will open at home on November 17th against St. Thomas (Minn.).
McConnell and George Valle led the Pirates with 15 points apiece. McConnell also had five rebounds. Taylor Farnsworth added 12 points and five rebounds for the Pirates, who made 48% (24-50) of their shots from the field and 43% (6-14) of their attempts from three-point range.
ISU's big advantage came at the free throw line where the Bengals made 25-31 (81%) and Whitworth went 11-16 (69%).
Chris Hansen led Idaho State with 23 points, while Melvin Morgan tallied 20 points. Hanson had eight rebounds as the Bengals outrebounded the Pirates 32-28, but Whitworth held ISU to only 39% from the field (17-44).
Hansen gave ISU its biggest lead in the first half (20-10) with a three-pointer, but the Pirates rallied to take a 30-28 lead on Farnsworth's layup. The Bengals took a 40-35 lead to halftime after Morgan hit a long three-pointer as time expired.
ISU took a 57-45 lead, its largest of the game, on a pair of Hansen free throws with just over ten minutes to play. But the Pirates fought back to get within 63-62 on McConnell's driving layup with just over four minutes to play.