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Gonzaga men prepare for Bryant in opener

Men’s basketball: The 15th-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs entertain Bryant University in the season opener for both teams today at 4 p.m. at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Gonzaga will be without freshman center Ryan Edwards, who had his tonsils removed earlier this week, for the first two games. Senior forward Drew Barham, who tweaked his knee in practice last week, has returned to practice.

Bryant, a member of the Northeast Conference, went from two wins in 2012 to 19 last season in its first full season with Division I eligibility. Bryant advanced to the College Basketball Invitational, losing its opening game to Richmond.

The visitors from Smithfield, R.I., return junior guard Dyami Starks (17.7 ppg last year) and 6-foot-6 senior forward Alex Francis (17.4 ppg, 8.6 rebounds). Both made the All-NEC preseason team.

TV: KHQ, 4 p.m.

Jim Meehan

Vandals get rare chance at home

Men’s basketball: The first eight weeks of the season are likely to be a feeling-out period for the reconstructed Idaho team.

Tonight offers the first – and one of a few – chances for Vandals fans to see the team play at home. Idaho opens the season against Western Illinois at 7 p.m. at Memorial Gym, one of four games before the end of the calendar year that UI will play in Moscow.

The game will cap a football-basketball doubleheader on the Idaho campus. The Vandals close their home football slate by playing host to Old Dominion at 2 p.m. in the Kibbie Dome.

The Vandals’ basketball team, which features 12 first-year players, plays 10 times on the road before Dec. 31. That includes games in Boise against Boise State and Idaho State and Wednesday’s trip to Oklahoma to take part in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

Western Illinois, a member of the Summit League, and the Vandals have never met.

Josh Wright