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Vandals wins exhibition 139-115

Sean Kramer Correspondent

MOSCOW, Idaho – The Idaho Vandals pushed the pace after every turnover, inbounds pass and rebound. They ran the floor, attacked the basket and looked for quick and easy scoring opportunities.

It was fast, yet chaotic, and resulted in Idaho scoring the most points it has in seven years under coach Don Verlin.

It also resulted in Idaho winning its exhibition opener Friday night 139-115 over Division II Simon Fraser at Memorial Gym.

But Verlin wouldn’t go as far as to call pushing every play a new identity for the normally methodical Vandals offense.

“It’s what they did to us tonight,” Verlin said. “They trapped us on every pass and we didn’t get to run an offensive set that we’ve been working on, so we just had to move the ball.”

The style seemed to be a natural fit for Idaho’s most important offensive pieces.

Senior point guard Mike Scott, often a shoot-first player last season, attempted only seven shots. He spent his night looking for outlet and kick-out passes, amassing 12 assists and only four turnovers.

“I got guys like Connor (Hill), our bigs are way more sound this year and they can finish at the rim,” Scott said. “It’s easier for me, I’d rather do that than get some points.”

Scott, solidified as Idaho’s starting point guard, was voted this year’s captain by his teammates. He admits pressure is on him to improve the 2.2 assists-per-game he averaged last season.

“Tonight felt great, I felt like I really can do this,” Scott said. “I have some doubters coming from the outside but I’m ready to show them.”

Hill, a senior, took advantage of the tempo to continually find open looks from 3-point range, knocking down 9 of 12 of his attempts and finishing with a game-high 31 points.

On defense, however, Idaho was disorganized, trying to set up in a zone but failing to close out on shooters. Simon Fraser made 14 3-point shots in the first half.

The Vandals trailed 70-64 at halftime, stiffening up to only allow 45 points in the second half.

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