Vandals bounce back with big win at Weber State - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Vandals bounce back with big win at Weber State

Photo: Idaho Athletics Photo: Idaho Athletics

By Idaho Athletics

OGDEN, Utah – Without one of their veterans, the Vandals needed somebody to step up on Saturday night.  Instead, everybody did, as Idaho took the 68-62 win over Weber State on the road to get win number 20 on the season.
 
THE GAME
Weber State was on fire to start, hitting its first three 3's and first four shots overall, on its way to a double-digit lead midway through the half.  The Vandals would respond with a barrage of 3-pointers of their own, including three from Trevon Allen off the bench, to cut the deficit to just five at the break.
 
Idaho wasted no time cutting into the lead in the second half, relying on the inside play from Nate Sherwood and Arkadiy Mkrtychyan.  Mkrtychyan was aggressive all evening, taking it to the Wildcat big men with every opportunity he got.
 
The Vandals would pull ahead on an and-one from Mkrtychyan midway through the half, going up 51-50.  Weber State stuck around, reclaiming the lead with under eight minutes to play, but Idaho stayed poised and took it back for good one minute later.
 
After struggling to find a rhythm all night, Brayon Blake stepped up when he was needed the most, finishing a contested reverse layup with under 40 seconds to play to put Idaho by two possessions and essentially seal the game.  Nate Sherwood buried four straight free throws down the stretch to seal the deal, as Idaho took the 68-62 win.
 
Nate Sherwood finished with his third double-double of his career, with 15 points and 10 rebounds.  In the end, five Vandals scored in double-figures.
 
THE NAME
Trevon Allen.  With veteran point guard, Perrion Callandret, out, head coach Don Verlin called on Allen to step up.  And that he did.  He knocked down all three of his 3-point attempts in the first half while the rest of the Vandals were struggling to get going.  He would go on to finish with 12 points, to go along with two boards and one assist.
 
THE NOTES
Idaho moves to 12-4 in Big Sky play, tied with Weber State for second in the conference standings with two games to go.  Should Idaho win out, the Vandals would be guaranteed at least the two seed in Reno. The Vandals would need two wins and two Montana losses (at home against Weber State and Idaho State) to move up in the standings.
 
Idaho reaches the 20-win plateau for the 10th time in program history and the second time in the last three years.  Idaho finished with 19 wins last season.
 
Nate Sherwood recorded his second double-double of the season, and third of his career.
 
The win is Idaho's first in Ogden since 1991.  Idaho had lost seven straight on the road against Weber State.
 
THE QUOTES
 
"We did a great job in the second half executing the gameplan and following through with the adjustments we talked about at the half and sustaining what we do," Verlin said.  "Our zone came up big tonight.  They missed some open shots, but I felt like we really got them out of rhythm.
 
"We had a number of guys play very, very well defensively.  They're hard to guard, their offensive stats speak for themselves.  Our guys did a heck of a job in changing our defenses and executing our gameplan."
 
"It's obviously big, no question about it," Verlin said about getting to win number 20 on the season.  "When you look over the last three years we won 21, 19 and 20.  So that's averaging 20 wins per season over the last three years.  And that's just a tribute to the guys in the lockerroom.  When we recruited Vic Sanders and Perrion Callandret and Chad and Nate Sherwood, Arkadiy Mkrtychyan and Jordan Scott, this was our dream, this was our focus.  Obviously we have a big couple of weeks ahead of us, we know that, but this was a big win.  Our seniors hadn't won here, they really wanted it.  We had a heartbreaking loss on Thursday night and this just shows the kind of character these guys have.  Just a heck of an effort tonight, couldn't be more proud of them."
 
WHAT'S NEXT?
"Vandal fans come on out next week.  These seniors have put in a lot of hard work and a lot of time.  We'd love to see your faces, we always play better when we have a big crowd and Thursday and Saturday are the last times you're going to see maybe the best groups in Vandal history.  We have the second all-time scorer and we have a number of guys on this basketball team who have come and made Idaho their home and busted their tails to do everything they can to represent the University of Idaho and the basketball program well.  I'm going to coach you a little bit here, you owe it to those guys to come out.  And I expect to see you out there.  I know you're all good people, we'd love to have you, we're going to finish this thing the right way."
 
Fans can stay up-to-date on all things Idaho men's basketball by following the team on twitter, @VandalHoops.  Tickets are on sale for what is shaping up to be an exciting season of Vandal basketball, get yours today at GoVandals.com/Tickets.

For more information on Idaho Athletics, visit GoVandals.com.  Fans can also find Idaho on Twitter and Instagram, @Idaho_Vandals, or on Facebook by searching Idaho Vandals.
 

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