Idaho junior center Kyle Barone put together three dominating performances in a five-day span at home last week that are indicative of what kind of season he is having with the Vandals.
This is what the 6-foot-10 and 220 pound Barone did during Idaho's 3-0 stretch:
--He scored 17 points with 12 rebounds (all of them on the defensive end, a career-high total) in Idaho's 70-69 win over Seattle on Feb. 7. "I thought Kyle Barone rebounded the ball for a period in the second half as good as he has his whole career here," Idaho coach Don Verlin said. "It felt like, there for a while, that he was dominating the boards."
--Barone led all scorers with 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field, along with eight rebounds, two blocks and a career-high-tying four assists in Idaho's 59-58 win over New Mexico State on Feb. 9. With Idaho trailing, 58-57, and less than 10 seconds left in the game, Barone took an inbound pass at the top of the key, drove his defender down the lane, then dished to senior forward Djim Bandoumel for the open close-range shot with 5.4 ticks left to give Idaho the win.
Verlin also took note of Barone's defense against New Mexico State star Wendell McKines. "Kyle Barone did a real nice job," Verlin said of the post defense. "Even though he (McKines) was their leading scorer (with only 12 points), he goes five-for-16 (from the field). I thought we had a hand in his face all night long."
--Barone had 14 points and a career-high-tying 15 rebounds along with three blocked shots in Idaho's 73-64 win over Louisiana Tech on Feb. 11. "I thought he rebounded with extreme authority," Verlin said of Barone, who has 10 double-doubles this season. "If he's not WAC Player of the Week this week, it's a crying shame because he's played with a lot of intensity."
--Idaho achieved its first season sweep over Louisiana Tech with its 73-64 win at home on Feb. 11. The Vandals have now defeated the Bulldogs four out of the last five years in Moscow, Idaho.
--The Vandal defense disrupted Louisiana Tech's 3-point shooting. In the first meeting, the Bulldogs made 13 3-pointers. On Feb. 11, Idaho allowed only six.
"In our last three WAC wins here (at home)," Idaho coach Don Verlin said, "there's a common theme -- (allowing) about 42 percent from the field and about 25 percent from 3-point line. That's the reason why we're winning these ball games. Our defense is improving."
BY THE NUMBERS: 51 -- The combined field goal shooting percentage for Idaho against the WAC's two top teams -- Nevada and New Mexico State -- last week.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We switched in and out of our man and our zone. We switched our coverages down low in the post. We switched our ball screen coverages throughout the game. I thought we were able to keep them off balance. I thought our guys' concentration was very good tonight." -- Idaho coach Don Verlin after the Vandals' 59-58 win over New Mexico State on Feb. 11.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
THIS WEEK'S GAMES:
--vs. Portland State, Feb. 18
KEY MATCHUPS: This BracketBusters game is to be played at Idaho, where the Vandals have won their last three games by a combined 11 points. Portland State senior guard Charles Odum (18.6 points per game entering the week) and senior forward Chehales Tapscott (13.8 points and 9.3 rebounds) will give Idaho's outside-inside combination of senior guard Deremy Geiger (12.7 points a game) and junior center Kyle Barone (12.7 points and 8.3 rebounds) a good test.
FUTURES MARKET: Idaho's Class of 2012 recruit Ty Egbert, a 6-foot-8 center, scored a season-high 40 points, and he needed just three quarters to do it, in Coulee Dam (Wash.) Lake Roosevelt's 76-40 win over Manson on Feb. 2.
--Senior G Deremy Geiger is shooting 89.7 percent (26-of-29) from the free throw line in the last five minutes of regulation entering this week.
--Junior C Kyle Barone leads the Vandals with 11 conversions on 17 three-point-play chances this season. Last season, he led the team converting on 8-of-9 three-point-play opportunities.
--Barone grabbed his 500th career rebound in Idaho's 70-69 win over Seattle on Feb. 7. In the game, he had a career-high 12 defensive boards.