Vandals Finally Close Out A Close One - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Vandals Finally Close Out A Close One

Idaho head coach Don Verlin was happy to see his team finally win a close one at home. Idaho head coach Don Verlin was happy to see his team finally win a close one at home.

by Idaho Athletics Media Relations

MOSCOW, Idaho – The Idaho men’s basketball team was finally on the right side of a down-to-the-wire game in the Cowan Spectrum, as the Vandals outlasted Bakersfield in a 64-61 win on Saturday night.

The Vandals lost five games by six or fewer points in their previous five games inside the Spectrum, but went 6-for-6 from the free throw line in the final 20 seconds on Saturday night to fend off the Roadrunners.

Idaho junior point guard Mike Scott finished with a career-high 20 points and added five rebounds and a career-high six assists in the game. He went 7-of-9 from the field, 4-of-6 from 3-point range and 2-of-2 from the free throw line, and committed just two turnovers in 38 minutes of action.

“Mike Scott played a heck of a game,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said. “He stepped up and played remarkably well the last two games, logging 37 and 38 minutes. Tonight he was phenomenal. The only two shots he missed were 3-pointers. Mike was the key to us winning the basketball game.”

Senior Stephen Madison notched his seventh 20-point performance of the season, with 20 points to go with five rebounds and two assists. Madison earned half of his points at the free throw line, where he connected on 10-of-14 attempts. Junior Connor Hill added 16 points on 4-of-8 shooting from 3-point range in the game.

The Vandals jumped out to a 15-point lead early in the game, leading 22-7 with just under 10 minutes to go in the first half. Bakersfield answered, however, with a 13-0 run to make it 22-20 with just under six minutes in the half before Idaho took a 32-28 advantage into halftime.

“We got out early in transition and I thought that was key to us winning tonight,” Verlin said of Idaho’s fast start. “Mike made a couple great plays in transition. After a couple [Bakersfield] baskets, I subbed a little bit and we lost momentum and never really got our break going again. This team needs to play more up-tempo than it does.”

After the Vandals scored on the first possession of the second half to take a six-point lead, Bakersfield went on a 13-1 run to take a 41-35 lead. The Roadrunners led for more than 10 minutes before a Scott 3-pointer put the Vandals ahead 55-53 with 5:42 to play. Bakersfield would tie the game on two more occasions, but never regained the lead, and Idaho hung on for the victory.

The Vandals improve to 8-12 on the season and 2-4 in the Western Athletic Conference with the win, while Bakersfield falls to 8-10 overall and 1-3 in the WAC.

The Vandals shot 42 percent from the field (21-of-50) and from 3-point range (8-of-19), while Bakersfield hit 44 percent of its shots (24-of-55) but just 29 percent (5-of-17) of its 3-pointers. The ‘Runners entered the game with WAC-bests of 7.94 made 3s per game and a 40.5 3-point field goal percentage.

“The stat I like the best is 29 percent from 3,” Verlin said. “They’re a good 3-point shooting team and I thought we did a great job of defending the 3-point line tonight. From a defensive standpoint that was the best thing that we did.”

Bakersfield out-rebounded Idaho 32-30 and held an 11-9 edge in second-chance points. Each team finished with eight turnovers in the game.

The Vandals have just one game the rest of January, as they visit Grand Canyon on Jan. 23. After that game, Idaho will be back in the Cowan Spectrum for three straight conference games, hosting Seattle U (Feb. 1), New Mexico State (Feb. 6) and Texas-Pan American (Feb. 8).

  • College

    • Whitworth streak past Linfield, winning 77-57

      Whitworth opened the second half on fire, making its first six baskets from the field to complete the 18-0 spurt that spanned both halves.

    • Cougars fall short against Utah, 54-50

      Chasing the game from the outset, the Cougars (10-17, 3-12 Pac-12) could never quite run down Utah (16-10, 7-8 Pac-12) on the road at the Huntsman Center as the Utes took a 54-50 victory Friday night.

    • Huskies fall to Utah at home, 70-58

      David Crisp had 18 points but was the only player in double figures for the Huskies (17-9, 7-6). Washington has lost three consecutive games for the first time this season.

    • Zags roll to 76-46 win over LMU

      Gonzaga had five players finish the game in double figures, including Corey Kispert who scored a team-high 14 points.

    • Eagles take down Big Sky leader Montana, 74-65

      Eastern's all-time leading scorer, Bliznyuk finished with a team-high 19 for the Eagles, with 15 of those coming in the first half. Now with 1,944 points in his illustrious career.

    • Vandals continue to roll beating Montana State, 95-77

      Ferenz led all scorers with 29 points. She became the seventh player in program history to surpass the 1,500-point mark. She's now got 1,522 career points.

    • Eagles pick up historic win over Montana, 75-72

      The win was even more special, as it marked head coach Wendy Schuller's 250th career victory at Eastern.

    • Montana drops first Big Sky game, loses to EWU 74-65

      It was going to come to an end at some point, but the Montana Grizzlies figured that it would be later in the season. The Griz dropped their road game to Eastern Washington 74-65, breaking the 13-game winning streak in conference.  

    • It took the Montana Lady Griz a quarter and a half to warm up, but warm up they did, as they pushed the Eastern Washington Eagles to the brink. But after getting within one point twice in the second half, the Lady Griz couldn't make it over the top, going 0-7 from the field down the stretch to lose 75-72. 

    • Zags set to take on LMU on SWX

      This is the 92nd all-time meeting between Gonzaga and Loyola Marymount. GU has a 70-21 advantage in the series.