NAMPA — Coyotes head coach Rod Jensen gave credit to the Crusaders’ defense. So did Northwest Nazarene coach Dave Daniels.

The Crusaders clamped down on the College of Idaho during a crucial eight-minute stretch in the second half, building just enough cushion to fend off the determined Coyotes for a 76-66 win in part two of Canyon County’s Mayor’s Cup series.

“It’s huge,” Daniels said of the win, a school-record seventh straight in the series, which began in 1934. “It’s not a normal game, we get their best, we have the four times I’ve played them, and they just keep fighting.”

The Coyotes (4-6, 1-1 Cascade) showed their fight, as they fell behind early, but a 13-0 run in the opening half led to a 39-36 College of Idaho edge at the break.

“That was extreme effort at the end of that half,” Jensen said. “(NNU) came out so hot, they were looking for a knock-out punch right off the bat and we held our ground. I’m really proud of our guys for that, and extremely proud to battle back and give yourself a chance at halftime.”

NNU (5-3, 1-1 GNAC) came out on fire, hitting 6-of-9 3-pointers, the last by Jonathan Hawkins with 5 minutes, 58 seconds before halftime that put the Crusaders ahead 30-20.

“We’re a great 3-point shooting team,” said Hawkins, who had three of his team’s 10 triples.

Two Kenny Jones free throws pushed the lead to 32-20, and it looked like NNU might end the battle early.

Then the Yotes fought back as a Sydney Donaldson block sparked a C of I fast-break, finished by Zach Peterson with a 3-point play.

That sparked the Yotes’ defense, which blocked another shot, and held NNU to 0-of-4 shooting. They forced three turnovers during a 13-0 surge, capped by two Peterson free throws that put the C of I on top 33-32.

A Miguel Rodriguez steal and fast-break finger-roll bucket with 7 seconds left sent the Yotes to the break ahead 39-36.

But the “extreme effort” and defense that sparked the Yotes’ first-half finish faded in the second half as NNU retook the lead for good 2:16 into the session on a Keith Moilanen 2-footer.

Antonio Garrett’s bucket with 10:42 to play kept the C of I close, down 59-52, before the Crusaders’ defense put the game away during an 11-4 run over the next 7:55 that saw the C of I shoot 1-of-9.

“Coach D is always telling us we need to get it done on the defensive end,” said Hawkins, who scored 17 points, had six rebounds, two steals and blocked a shot for NNU.

“We just haven’t been consistent shooting the ball yet this year,” Jensen said, as his team hit 15-of-32 (46.9 percent) from the field in the first half, then 10-of-31 (32.3 percent) in the second.

“...But you have to credit their defense too, those guys are a little bit bigger, they’re a little bit wider than we’re used to, so the floors not as big and it makes it tougher.”

Taylor Pruett led the Yotes offense with 19, while Rodney Delgardo added 15 and Donaldson had 14 in the loss.

Jones scored a game-high 27 points and added five assists for NNU, which trails the all-time series 114-80 but matched the best win streak, set twice by the Yotes in the early 1950s and mid-1980s.

CRUSADERS 76, COYOTES 66

College of Idaho (4-6, 1-1) – Delgardo 7-16 0-0 15, Telken 2-3 0-0 4, Rodriguez 1-4 0-0 2, Donaldson 4-11 4-4 14, Pruett 7-17 4-5 19, Peterson 2-6 4-5 8, Koga 0-2 0-0 0, Garrett 2-4 0-0 4, Benke 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-63 12-14 66.

Northwest Nazarene (5-3, 1-1) – Donaldson 3-6 0-0 7, Perryman 1-1 0-0 3, Jones 9-16 7-7 27, Kurimsky 1-2 0-0 2, Hawkins 3-5 8-8 17, Zidzik 0-0 0-0 0, Moilanen 2-5 3-3 8, White 0-0 0-0 0, Hering 0-5 0-0 0, Rima 2-3 1-2 5, Rosser 0-0 0-0 0, Grayson 2-6 1-4 7. Totals 23-49 20-24 76.

Halftime score – College of Idaho 39, Northwest Nazarene 36.

3-point goals – CofI 4-20 (Delgardo 1-6, Rodriguez 0-2, Donaldson 2-5, Pruett 1-4, Peterson 0-1, Koga 0-2); NNU 10-24 (Donaldson 1-2, Perryman 1-1, Jones 2-7, Hawkins 3-5, Moilanen 1-2, Hering 0-3, Grayson 2-4). Fouled out – CofI, Rodriguez. Rebounds – CofI 27 (Rodriguez 6); NNU 40 (Hawkins, Moilanen 6). Assists – CofI 12 (Rodriguez 6); NNU 10 (Jones 5). Total fouls – CofI 18; NNU 15. Technicals – None. Blocks – CofI 4 (4 players with 1); NNU 5 (Grayson 2). Steals – CofI 11 (Rodriguez 5); NNU 9 (Hawkins, Hering 2). Turnovers – CofI 13; NNU 21.

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