MOSCOW, Idaho - In a game where every possession was crucial, Universityof Idaho men's basketball made too many mistakes in a 55-49 loss onThursday in the team's Western Athletic Conference home opener againstthe University of Denver.Idaho (6-8, 2-2 WAC) committed 12 second-half turnovers and 18 total inthe game, which Denver (8-7, 4-1 WAC) turned into 19 points."I knew the game was going to be like it was, a grind-out game," Idahohead coach Don Verlin said. "I knew it was going to be like that and Ithought we did a lot of good things. We did a good job defensively, butwe just didn't take care of our ball well enough to win this game."In the first 36 minutes of the game, Idaho had held the WAC's mostprolific 3-point shooting team to just three made triples, but DU'sChase Hallam drained threes on back-to-back possessions with threeminutes to play. Those two shots snatched away an Idaho 44-41 lead andput the Vandals in a 47-44 hole with 2:36 to play.Vandal senior Mike McChristian gave Idaho a 48-47 lead with a layup at1:35, but Idaho committed two more turnovers and didn't attempt a shotby the end of regulation, while DU re-took the lead on a layup at 1:14,then made all six of its free throw attempts to finish the game."I thought we defended it pretty well, but we let Hallam get loose therea couple times late and he makes two big 3-point shots," Verlin said.As a team, Idaho shot 17-of-35 (.486) overall and 3-of-9 (.333) from3-point range, along with a 12-of-15 (.800) showing at the free throwline. DU went 19-of-44 (.432) from the field, 5-of-18 (.278) from3-point range and 12-of-13 (.923) from the free throw line.Idaho held a 25-17 rebounding edge, but gave up a key offensive reboundafter forcing a miss with 26 seconds to play and facing a one-pointdeficit. The Vandals had to foul and saw themselves in a three-pointhole instead."I thought they came up with big plays when they needed to come up withthem," Verlin said. "It gets late in the basketball game, we get them tomiss a shot, then we don't come up with the rebound."Vandal junior Stephen Madison led all scorers with 19 points on 7-of-11shooting, along with four assists. Sophomore guard Connor Hill added 12points on 3-of-6 shooting, all from long range, and added hisNCAA-leading third four-point play of the season. Leading scorer Kyle Barone tied his season low with five points on2-of-7 shooting, along with six turnovers. Verlin said DU did a good jobof attacking him with the double teams and frustrating him all nightlong.DU outscored Idaho in the paint, 26-24, off turnovers, 19-15 and off thebench, 9-4. Idaho held a 2-0 margin on the fast break and had a 10-5edge in second-chance points in the game.After the Vandal men took a 28-24 lead into the halftime break, thePioneers opened the second half with a 7-0 run to take a 33-28 lead atthe 14:55 mark. Idaho answered immediately with a 15-3 run of its ownfor a 43-36 lead - its largest of the game - but then Denver ended witha 19-6 scoring tally over the game's final eight minutes.The Vandal men stay at home on Saturday, when they host New Mexico State(9-8, 3-2 WAC). The Aggies outlasted Seattle U in double-overtime onThursday by an 83-82 margin at KeyArena. Idaho and NM State split theseason series last year, with the home team winning each time.Saturday's game tips off at 7:05 p.m. (PT) at the Cowan Spectrum.