When the clock ticked to under a minute remaining in the game, Idaho point guards Mike Scott and Perrion Callandret each buried 3-point shots to propel the Vandals to a Monday night 82-77 win over the visiting South Dakota State Jackrabbits.
Callandret's 3-point make was the bigger shot. Idaho trailed 75-74 with 56 seconds remaining when the sophomore from Bothell, Wash. let the shot fly. Scott's came with 10 seconds remaining at the shot clock buzzer, essentially clinching Idaho's victory.
I touch on the play in my game story from last night.
Idaho improved to 2-0 on the season. The Vandals defeated NAIA opponent Eastern Oregon in the season opener.
Callandret, Scott and Idaho coach Don Verlin touched on the topic of confidence, something Callandret sorely lacked in his freshman campaign last season.
Read what they had to say after the jump.
Callandret talked with some swagger after last night's win. Last year, he was a sparsely used substitute off the bench after falling out of favor very early in the season. This season, he is the first guard coming off the bench and had the full confidence of his coach to unload a 3-point shot that could've meant defeat had it not went in.
"That’s a big thing. Confidence is the biggest part of my game I feel like," Callandret said. "Him having confidence to put me in at the end of the game, confidence to let me hit shots, it’s great. It helps me play."
With the departure of Callandret's brother, Glen Dean, Scott has taken Callandret under his wing.
"Me and Perrion talk all the time. I can tell by his tone that he has a lot of confidence in his game," he said.
Callandret has earned the backup point guard role by the work he put in over the summer. Last year he wasn't near mentally or physically strong enough to shoulder the load of Division-I basketball as a true freshman.
"Perrion has done a great job, he’s worked his tail off since the end of the season last year, he’s been one of our hardest workers," Verlin said. "He’s worked hard in the weight room, worked hard on his shot. He’s been able to step up and make some big shots for us already this year."
The player of the game last night may have been Bira Seck, though. The senior forward from Senegal played physical on South Dakota State's Cody Larson, who had three inches of height and 20 pounds of an advantage on Seck. Seck posted his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
"My goodness, he rebounded it from everywhere," Verlin said of Seck. "He came up with big rebounds when we needed it, he was active on the offensive glass. He plays how Bira Seck plays. Couldn't be happier for him starting his senior year this way."
All three of Idaho's seniors, Scott, Seck and Connor Hill had solid games. South Dakota State, like all of Idaho's opponents, have a player trailing Hill off of every off-the-ball movement and screen to make sure he has no room to shoot the ball. Hill only needs inches worth of breathing room to let off a good look, however. He shot 3-of-8 from 3-point range despite the pressure. The advantage is that teams will hardly ever play a zone on Idaho when Hill is on the floor. It's opened up space for Idaho in the post to score in the paint with Scott, Sekou Wiggs, Seck and Arkadiy Mkrtychyan.
Scott led all scorers with 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting, 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.
The Vandals will travel to DeKalb, Ill. to face Northern Illinois on Thursday. It's a guarantee payout game for Idaho, meaning NIU won't be making a return trip to Moscow. The Vandals then travel to the Centurylink Arena in Boise to face Boise State on Tuesday.