MOSCOW, Idaho – When the news reached Weber State coach Randy Rahe that Idaho would be without Victor Sanders on Saturday afternoon, he didn’t exactly rejoice.
Sure, the Vandals would miss their best player, but Rahe’s team was already entering a hostile environment. And he told his assistants as much.
“With Sanders being out, it’s Senior Day, I told my staff, ‘I’d probably rather have Victor play today because you know what happens,’ ” Rahe said. “And they rallied around him.”
Minus the injured Sanders, Idaho got a career-high 25 points from freshman Trevon Allen to overcome a wild finish to regulation and upend Weber State 83-78 in overtime at Memorial Gym.
The Wildcats rallied from a nine-point deficit with 50 seconds left on the back of leading scorer Jeremy Senglin, who had 13 of his game-high 31 points in the final 3 minutes of regulation.
Idaho led 74-71 with 1.5 seconds left when Verlin called for his team to foul the Wildcats.
Senglin hit the first free throw, then intentionally missed the second. The Vandals snatched the loose-ball rebound, but Nate Sherwood was whistled for a foul with 0.1 seconds remaining as he tried to clear out Kyndahl Hill on the low block.
Hill swished both free throws to send the game into OT.
Neither team hit a field goal in the extra period, but UI came up with three key defensive stops and Allen went 6 of 6 from the free-throw line – part of a 14-of-14 day from the stripe, the third-best free-throw performance in school history.
“I kind of like that pressure feeling,” said Allen, who led Clarkston to back-to-back Washington State 2A titles the last two seasons.
The Vandals (15-12, 10-6 Big Sky) finished their home season with a rousing performance in front of a Senior Day crowd of 1,267. Two senior backups, guard Pat Ingram and big man Ty Egbert, were honored before the game.
Weber State, which was atop the Big Sky standings two weeks ago, has dropped three straight and is now in third place behind North Dakota and Eastern Washington at 16-11, 11-5. Idaho is one game behind the Wildcats and is tied for fourth entering the last week of the regular season.
“You know, I thought we played as hard and as good as we’ve played probably this entire season,” Idaho coach Don Verlin said.
Sanders, a junior point guard averaging 21.6 points per game, sustained a deep contusion in his left calf muscle late in Thursday’s win over Idaho State. Verlin said he likely would have played if it were the Big Sky tournament championship game, but the wisest move was to keep him out with the most crucial stretch of the season coming up.
“We hope it’s day-to-day,” Verlin said of the injury. “Let’s put it that way.”
Allen started in his place and eclipsed his previous scoring high (11 points) with 4 minutes left in the first half. He drained his first three 3-point attempts to help Idaho race to a 12-point lead.
UI forward Arkadiy Mkrtychyan finished with 13 points and was also perfect from the foul line (5 of 5). Jordan Scott, meanwhile, grabbed seven offensive rebounds – the same total that Weber State had as a team.
“I thought we did a great job, and obviously kind of a miraculous job, to get it into overtime,” Rahe said. “Our kids kept fighting, and when you do, good things happen.
“I thought Idaho played extremely inspirational today.”
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