Idaho has its first win, and just in time. After beating Wisconsin-Green Bay, the Vandals' first win in three home games to start the season, it plays at unbeaten New Mexico on Friday and at Washington State on Nov. 28.
We've got our story and a few notes below.
Idaho shooting guard Antwan Scott remains away from the team with his mother in a coma. Don Verlin said Scott's mother was transferred to another hospital but has seen no change in her condition. While he's away, Scott has tried to keep up with schoolwork, Verlin said, but he's about two weeks behind. "We're going to have to at some point make a decision here in a week, week and a half," the coach said. "Really what we're hoping is his mom gets better, and that makes everything better. It's a tough deal." ... Idaho's game at The Pit in New Mexico very well could be its toughest of the season, but Verlin is looking forward to seeing how his team handles the test. "Steve Alford has got a great program and I’ve been to The Pit a number of times," Verlin said. “It’s quite special to go down there. We’ve played pretty well in our guarantee games in the past and it’s going to take one heck of an effort to stay close in that game and have a chance to win.” ... Kyle Barone is now 31 points shy of joining the 1,000-point club. He's also 10th all-time on the Vandals' career rebounding list.
By Josh Wright
MOSCOW, Idaho — The Idaho men’s basketball team is no more settled at point guard than it was at the start the season two weeks ago.
But at least the Vandals now have a win to their name as they sort it out.
Despite shaky guard play in the final moments again, Idaho dispatched Wisconsin-Green Bay 72-62 on Tuesday night in front an announced pre-Thanksgiving crowd of 762 at Memorial Gym.
The nonconference game was the third in a row at home to start the season for the Vandals (1-2), who travel to unbeaten New Mexico on Friday night.
UI coach Don Verlin has alternated between starting point guard Mike McChristian and junior-college transfer Denzel Douglas, both of whom showed their inexperience against the Phoenix (2-3) of the Horizon League.
Robert Harris, Jr., another JC transfer, also will be in the mix at point guard when he returns from a strained hamstring, possibly next week.
“(I’m) trying to figure out which one I want to play more,” Verlin said. “I’ve just got to get them experience. Denzel hasn’t played any Division I basketball, and Mike has, but all at the small forward. And so it’s just going to take time. It always does.”
One of Douglas’ three assists was a highlight-reel alley-oop pass to Stephen Madison after poking the ball away on defense to start a fast break. But the 5-foot-10 junior also made a few questionable decisions as Green Bay hacked away at a 19-point deficit late in the second half.
McChristian, meanwhile, had five points, two turnovers and one assist — solid numbers in Verlin’s eyes. But as in his first two starts, the senior was momentarily benched because of mistakes.
Both point guards, though, have had no problem feeding Madison and center Kyle Barone. Idaho’s two best players continued their productive play early in the season, combining for 34 points.
Barone had a double-double with 10 rebounds, while Madison distributed a career-high seven assists.
Madison’s biggest assist of the night came after the Phoenix had cut UI’s lead to 58-47 with 7:51 remaining. Madison penetrated the the lane and found Douglas alone on the left wing for a 3-pointer.
That started a mini 8-0 run to put UI in what appeared to be full control. But Green Bay, playing for the fourth time in five nights, got within single digits, 70-62, by taking advantage of Idaho miscues.
The final minutes were reminiscent of Saturday night, when UI saw a 15-point lead melt away in a 69-66 loss to Montana. This time, though, the Vandals got the stops they needed.
“We just had to execute down the stretch, execute our game plan and keep our exposure,” Douglas sai
The Vandals outrebounded Green Bay 34-27 and held a major advantage on the offensive boards in the first half. Much of that was due to Marcus Bell, an athletic JC transfer who started for the first time.